Grace Hough from Telford Harriers/Shrewsbury AC has kindly offered to blog for SDN after She applied and was accepted as a volunteer at the London 2012 Paralympics. Grace having completed her training now shares with us her initial thoughts/experience.
The first three days.
The Euphoria wild excitement and sheer magic of the Olympics has not subsided here inLondon. The Olympic stadium has become the Paralympic Stadium. All the Logos have been changed and the symbol onTowerBridgehas evolved into the Paralymic Logo. Mandeville has replaced Wenlock as the mascot. I also have my uniform to wear with pride.
My first three days have been manic! Two days at a training venue and one day at the stadium assisting athletes on the track and field. We have very early starts and late finishes.
The Olympic Park is surreal as it is closed to the public as it redressed for the Games. A quiet peace surrounds the venues which remind me of sleeping giants waiting to awake.
The athletes come from all over the world with so many disabilities. Some are wheelchair bound others ambulant. Others visually impaired and run, or throw with guides. They are all carefully classified according to the disability. To many categories to list here, but that adds greatness to these games. There is an amazing selection of sports, all taken up by people with disabilities, all being given an opportunity, carefully grouped with fairness taken into account.
The logistics are a nightmare as athletes arrive in buses at the track or throws area and their implements such as specialised chairs too heavy to carry, arrive in a removal van! All have to be reunited.
The training venue is a peaceful place where athletes can do their final training sessions without interruptions and they can relax and have massage and physiotherapy facilities close at hand. The goal of the team I am involved with is to make the athletes as comfortable as possible and make them feel welcome at all levels.
So far I have met athletes fromRussia,China,Japan,Argentina,Bulgaria,Kenya,Latviato mention just a few.
I will keep you updated over the next few days as things progress: Grace.
Shropshire Disability Network are so pleased and very grateful to Grace who responded to our letter in the Shropshire Star/Chronicle earlier this year. It is helping us to feed her experiences and the experiences of others with you.