The people behind the Olympics

After 7 years of planning the London 2012 Olympics has kicked off! As the nation cheers on Team GB on the track, in the pool an on the pitch over the next few weeks just spare a thought for all those who are behind the scenes at the Games…

Here are a few of the important but possibly overlooked roles that are key to a successful Games:

1. The Olympic Falconer

Jason Keddie’s job involves flying birds of prey inside and around the London 2012 Aquatics Centre to deter pigeons from nesting. Keddie is part of Hawkwise Pest Control, based in Essex and uses hawks as an ethical form of pest control to scare the pests away when the centre was under construction.

2. The Olympic Race Starter

61-year-old, Alan Bell is the world’s best race starter and will be holding the gun at the men’s 100 metres final on Sunday. Bell famously disqualified Usain Bolt at the World Championships in Daegu last September after the Jamaican triple Olympic champion false-started in the final. No false starts please Team GB!

3. The Olympic Beach Volleyball Sand Controller

You can’t really call raking the sand and straightening the boundary lines at the beach volleyball a tough job when you get to watch bikini clad women jumping and diving around but somebody has to do it!

4.The Olympic Plasticine Replacer

To ensure a white flag the long jump and triple jump athletes must avoid the plasticine strip at all costs. It is the job of the Plasticine Replacer to change this strip anytime an athlete leaves their footprint! Let’s hope they won’t have much to do when Team GB steps up to the mark.

5. The Olympic Plant Designer

Sarah Price was in charge of choosing the plants and designing the London 2012 Gardens at the centre of the Olympic park and Great British Garden. The UK’s largest urban park for more than 100 years will be open to the public after the Games. What a beautiful job she has done!

6. The Olympic Athlete Service Manager

Emily Brett from Clapham looks after all the shops and services in the Olympic Village. She is the one booking the entertainment and making sure the athletes have everything at their disposal. Keep up the good work Emily!

7. The Olympic Weight Changer

With Olympic weightlifters lifting more than anyone else in the world you have to admire the people who have to change the weights and put them back into place after each lift. We salute you!

8. The Olympic Pool Temperature Tester

The temperature of the water in a competitive pool affects the athlete’s performance, including their speed. Cold water can shock the body, slow down muscle movements and increase heart rate. Therefore it is vital that the water is at optimal temperature and it is someone’s job to test this. The governing body for competitive swimming throughout the world (FINA) states the optimal temperature is 26 degrees Celsius.

9. The Olympic Protocol Volunteers

This has to be one of the highest profile meet and greet jobs going! These positions involve meeting and greeting VIPs from The Queen to the President of the International Olympics Committee in an appropriate manner at a range of events from the opening ceremony to the track events.

So when you are watching the Olympics and Paralympics over the next month keep an eye out for these guys! We wouldn’t have a Games without them.

Go Team GB!