The Volunteer Spirit
The Olympic Games are a team effort, and a big part of the team at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games is the volunteers. Around 25,000 people have given up their time and have taken on a wide variety of roles in order to ensure that the world’s best winter athletes can compete to their full potential. Working in roles such as performers in the ceremonies, drivers, course preparation, spectator services, athlete services and language services, the Games simply could not happen without the helpful, smiling volunteer group. This was underlined by Clara Hughes, a Canadian speed skater, when she said, “Just to feel the support of the spectators and even the volunteers makes me want everything to go well. I just allow myself to be completely inspired and surrounded by the atmosphere and the feelings of the Games.” Olympic.org decided to catch up with one of this intrepid bunch to find out what it’s like being a volunteer in Vancouver. We spoke to Roman Blaha, a teacher from the Czech Republic, who has given up three weeks of his time to work at these Games:
Olympic.org: How did you end-up volunteering for the Vancouver Games?
Roman Blaha: I watched the Calgary ’88 Olympic Winter Games and I fell in love with the Olympics. I then later attended the Turin 2006 Games as a spectator and, subsequently, volunteered at the floor ball world championships in 2008, which gave me a taste for volunteering. I am also a part-time ice hockey journalist and had always wanted to see hockey being played in Canada, so for all of these reasons, I decided to apply to be a volunteer here in Vancouver.
Olympic.org: What has it been like working at these Games?
Roman Blaha: It’s been great! Everything has been so exciting. It has really been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to be here and live these Games from the inside.
Olympic.org: Would you encourage others to volunteer at future Olympic Games after your experience here in Vancouver?
Roman Blaha: Yes, absolutely. If I got the chance to be an Olympic volunteer again here in Vancouver, knowing what I know now, then I would apply immediately. I would definitely encourage others to become Olympic volunteers in the future.