2010Feb 13

Imran Gill 2nd Yr SPAD Student Checks In from Vancouver

By Imran Gill, 2nd Year SPAD Student

From the moment I landed and walked into the Vancouver airport, I was hit with Olympic fever. The arrivals section was full of reporters, athletes, coaches and volunteers with big smiles on their faces.  I could not keep my eyes still as I was constantly seeing people arrive from all over the world. Jackets with Austria, Russia, Norway, Finland etc. all printed on the back of each person.

As a volunteer, I was given the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony dress rehearsal on Wednesday night and as I’m sure most of you have seen tonight, the show was spectacular. I felt so proud to be Canadian, and really feel privileged to be a part of the greatest event in the world.  What really made my day was when a little kid came up to me while I was on my way to the rehearsal, and asked if I was an Olympic athlete! (I had my accreditation and blue jacket on). Unfortunately, he was disappointed.

My volunteer position with the games is that of an Olympic News Service Coordinator. Essentially, the Olympic News Service (ONS) is responsible for providing games related news and information to the accredited media. We have reporters at every venue, and produce several thousand news stories throughout the games. Since there are many news agencies that cannot be at every venue, information from our news stories is used by them when writing stories of their own. I have been assigned to the Main Press Centre at Canada Place for the duration of the games.  This is where all the press comes to sit and write their stories, and literally live for the three weeks during the games. There are showers available, laundry service, a 24/7 McDonalds. I have already seen a few journalists passed out on couches during the day.

My main role as ONS Coordinator consists of three parts. As I only started on Thursday, I have only really fulfilled two of the three parts so far. Firstly, I and two other volunteers must make sure that all the stories that ONS creates go out into the pigeon holes in the main media centre. Now this may seem like an easy task, but when there are 1400 holes and thousands of stories produced during the games it does get fairly busy. Secondly, we constantly interact with the media helping them with any problems that may occur or directing them to an area where they can get the help they need. Thirdly, the task I am most excited for and will be doing later in the week is sitting in on press conferences and writing down flash quotes.  These quotes are used by many journalists who may have not been able to attend the press conference, and will be published in various news sources around the world.

I am looking forward to seeing my SPAD classmates arrive this weekend. The city is electric and I know they are going to have the time of their lives! GO CANADA GO!!!!

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