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Odds Blog: Richard’s Gamesmaker Shift No. 7

Posted by indigodream on 14 August, 2012

Rewind to Wednesday 8th August 2012

Another early start, needing 2 shots of Indriya to get me going (Nespresso geeks will know what I mean!). I made the C2C train with 30 seconds to spare, but then missed a DLR train at West Ham so I checked in exactly on time at 6:15am which meant that I got assigned to a team with a bowl duty, “hurrah”, I thought, plenty of people to talk to and lots of sport to watch. Well almost …

When it comes to our final team briefing the Team Leader has a set of cards to give out detailing the team’s duties, these get handed out in priority order and I got a high priority duty: guarding the lift….

This is a silly lift – well, its main aim is to transport goods up from the bowels of the stadium – LOCOG and the catering people having finally worked out that using it to take trolley loads of supplies up to the concessions is far more efficient then supplying them with a box or two at a time. The lift does serve 7 rows of 19 public seats each in the upper tier, so a small number of people can be spared the walk; but under no circumstances are the public allowed to be in the lift by themselves. This means that there has to be a Gamesmaker stationed at the top and another at the bottom of the lift – our role was to ride up and down with a maximum of 4 people, swapping over every so often before the Gamesmaker at the bottom went gaga.

If you are at the top of the lift then that’s great, you get to see the action. Wednesday was fascinating as they were setting up the pole vault, the high jump and the discus. We did swap round later, and I also had a stint in the dreaded buggy store and in the lower tier. Here are my views from the top tier:

8:05am: Empty stadium, tech team setting up the long jump take-off board camera

8:30 Sand has been very carefully raked and now they give the area a good sweep. I have to say that Gamesmakers on the field of play are really diligent.

8:35am: By now all these people and all this gear had appeared.

8:40am: Serious number of people appearing. I can’t remember the correct name for the team dressed in blue but they do the measuring, recording etc. and I think they also are volunteers.

8:45am: Emergency reserve cement mixers being bought in

8:50am: Pole Vaulters appearing, looks like they have a tape to set out their little markers so that they know where to start their run from

Meanwhile on the discus field I think this guy is out there with an old fashioned tape to verify that the Total Station they use for measuring distance is set up correctly.

9:05am: Pole Vaulters warming up – it is quite scary how high they go! Look at the guy on the left and how he pushes himself even higher completely upside down off the top of a thin pole.

And up they go. The name that everybody knows is Sergey Bubka, now retired. The second most famous Pole Vaulter was Cornelius “Dutch” Warmerdam, he was still competing at the time of the last London games and famous for being the first man to clear 15′ or 4.57m in new money. He did not compete in the 1948 games – I don’t know why – and the gold medal was won by a jump of 4.2m, a mere 14′. In 2012, these guys are warming up way over that height, this year’s Olympic Record is at 5.97m or 16′ 4″ in old money

View under the upper tier as spectators arrive

They have a vertical rule that they use to check the height of the bar, you can see it as they raise the bar to the right height. The bar is what, perhaps 2/3rds of the way up but already it is 2½ times the height of the Gamesmaker with his vertical rule. Just to the left of the left hand track you can just make out a guy in white and blue – I think he was the eventual winner.

Moving back to the Long Jump: At the back of the take-off board there is an indicator board with what I thought were plasticine strips but I gather they use something more advanced nowadays which comes in strips. Here they are replacing it whilst someone else diligently rakes the sand.

And here is the guy replacing bits of the marker strips. This year, the long jump was won fantastically a few days earlier by Greg Rutherford from the Milton Keynes Athletics club with a jump of 8.31m. You have seen the photos of people jumping narrow locks? Well they are just over 7′ wide, 8.31m is almost 28′ so close to twice the width of the broad lock at Fenny Stratford. Now that’s a man who does not need walkways across locks!

I bet no one can identify the best building on the park …..

Another quiet day at the park ….

8 Responses to “Odds Blog: Richard’s Gamesmaker Shift No. 7”

  1. I was there on the 8th… cycled to the park and came in at Eaton Manor gate…. very quiet at just past 8am – tickets for Hockey starting at 8.30 and handball at 21.30. Fairly obvious that this gate was not too popular with visitors but you soon saw the surge of visitors coming towards you. No complaints about the whole experience, might of been different if the weather hadn’t been warm and sunny of course.

    Tickets for the paraolympics in the velodrome 30.8 – looking forwards to that one. then taking the boat round the rivers sometime in 2013 once its been worked out what will happen with all these waterways.

    The blog has been a very good read – thanks

  2. nbsg said

    The “best building on the park” is the combined great and power plant..

  3. nbsg said

    The “best building on the park” is the combined heat and power plant..

  4. indigodream said

    Roger: Enjoy the paralympics! I investigated cycling up from Limehouse but at an early hour there were only a few cycle parks open, the best for me had limited “staff” parking and my timings were simply too tight to allow for any problems (unless I got up earlier!)

    Simon: Ah no, the chp plant is the one with a big chimney and expensive copper cladding.

  5. Halfie said

    Surely you don’t mean McDonalds???

    You mention cement mixers – are they the vacuum cleaners with orange balloons? What are they for?

  6. indigodream said

    No, not McDonalds!

    I think the vacuum cleaners with orange ballons are for what ever the athletes use to powder their hands before they do their death defying stuff. It did amaze me on the day, every time I looked another person was coming out with another bit of gear, it was all very efficient but there is so much to put in place before an event and they do it so quickly.

  7. Adam said

    A little bit of research suggests it’s the primary substation!

    http://www.london2012.com/venue/primary-substation/

  8. indigodream said

    Spot on, well done. Better photo here: http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/daily-news/nords-olympics-substation-lands-top-brick-award/8607776.article Typically only the Architects get mentioned!

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