Our own Mark Waterhouse, Systems Consultant, is helping to manage the GB judo athletes in the Olympics and is keeping a blog of the experience. You can access his daily reports here.
Before he headed to London, Mark took the time to give us an overview of how is involved with the London 2012 Olympics.
Have you planned your summer vacation yet? I am surprised by the number of people I speak to who have decided to get out of London and avoid the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games altogether.
Personally, having been involved in an Olympic sport since the age of nine (for those that know me well, that’s about 15 years ago), I look at this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the athletes at the pinnacle of their career take part in what many only dream of.
I remember my mother taking my younger brother and myself along to Judo in order to build our confidence and to get us to take some form of physical exercise. I never imagined that all those years later, I would be in a position not only to watch these athletes but, as a London 2012 Games Maker, actually work alongside them.
For me, meeting many of these athletes is not new – in fact, having taken part in many of the GB World Cup or Senior International events, I have met a good 90% of them. However, this time, the participants become Olympians.
By the age of 15, I was helping my club coach on so many occasions that he insisted I get a formal coaching qualification and, from then on, things quickly spiralled; I went on to attain my Senior Club Coach award, my black belt and then made the move from competitive participation to that of officiating.
Over the years, I have taken many assessments and examinations and earlier this year was awarded by National Refereeing qualification – the highest available for British Referees. Unfortunately, for me to referee at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, I need to progress even further and so, over the next 5-7 years, I will be looking to progress once again to that of an International Referee…..and then, who knows, I could be refereeing the heavyweight final.
So, whilst you are sunning yourself by the pool, I will be living in a friend’s bedroom in London and will be managing the athletes as they progress through the early rounds all the way to the final. It’s quite a commitment really – we have some very early starts (although it beats me what we will be doing at 07:30 each morning!) – but we are quite lucky; without exception, all of the officials and volunteers for my sport are active officials as well….so we do not anticipate any surprises or problems. That said, LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) still insist we all attend the training sessions or, in other words, another weekend where I cannot work on a shutdown weekend!
I have been involved in Judo for longer than I care to remember and this year, the UK has the chance to demonstrate how to put on a show.