THREE tennis enthusiasts have played key roles in the running of the Olympics in London.
Peter Rushworth, Janet West and Robert Balmforth from Wellholme Park Tennis Club have just returned from the Games after volunteering their time almost two years ago.
Peter was a team leader for event services at Wimbledon. His job involved leading a team of volunteers in an assortment of roles such as supervising people to their seats in the show courts, checking tickets, staffing gates, answering questions and directing people around Wimbledon, and supervising secure areas.
Peter said he enjoyed the whole experience. “The atmosphere at Wimbledon, and across London was excellent, and it was good to meet so many people, both to work with and the spectators. As the week went on London really got into the games with more and more union jacks appearing everywhere you went, faces painted in red, white and blue, and people even chatting away and exchanging stories on the tube, almost unheard of at other times.”
His highlights included seeing the rehearsal of the opening ceremony, the atmosphere in the stadiums, especially when the British players were competing, seeing all five of the tennis medal ceremonies particularly the men’s singles with Andy Murray, standing with gold medallist Victoria Azarenka’s mother for the mixed doubles medal ceremony and being thanked personally by Seb Coe.
“I was also fortunate enough to see some other Olympic sports during my stay and saw Team GB’s basketballers win their first Olympic match since 1948, the Italian ladies triumph in the fencing, team GB football and, on my days off, had two days watching tennis including the ladies singles and men’s doubles gold medal matches,” he said.
Jan West worked on a number of sites around Greenwich in her role as part of the Last Mile - Wayfunding team member. “My role included welcoming people to the games making them aware of what was on locally. I had to make sure they knew where they needed to be and ensure they had a stress free and enjoyable games,” she said.
“I was the eyes and ear for the Games to make sure nothing untoward was occurring and report anything that was out of the ordinary.”
She said her highlights included working with some outstanding people and meeting people like herself that were passionate about their sport. Sharing the laughter and tears at our nations triumphs and the athletes disappointments.
“Even watching on the big screens you knew you were part of something special - a once in a lifetime opportunity. The opportunity to say I was there I helped make this happen and whatever our contribution together we all made it happen to make this an outstanding and successful games.”
Robert Balmforth was an on-court official for the tennis competition. “I was a line umpire and we were the people you saw around the tennis court that call the balls in or out,” he said.
“I really enjoyed my Olympics experience. As technical officials we all got a ticket to the Opening Ceremony, which was amazing and definitely the best thing I have ever seen live. The tennis competition was hard work, but also enjoyable and the atmosphere was fantastic to be part of.”