Sunday, July 29, 2012

London Olympics 2012 & The Spirit of Volunteerism

Yesterday was the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. Creative Director, Danny Boyle of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ fame designed this edition of the initiation ceremony. Interestingly, the lead in this lavish, historical production was one of the best Shakespearian actors, Sir Kenneth Branagh, who is himself an actor and director (recently, ‘Thor’).

It would be premature and unfair to compare Boyle’s work to Chinese uber-director, Zhang Yu Mou who directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic edition in Beijing. Both expressed their creativity and flamboyance in different ways. They were uniquely differently styles and thematic orientations; both married the traditional with the contemporary.

In Lord Sebastian Coe (a former world champion over the mile and 1,500m track events) address, he thanked the legion of volunteers for this colossal task. Indeed, volunteers are the backbone of the Modern Olympic Movement. They are critical to the successful and effective functioning of events for the 17 high-key days.

The spirit of volunteerism also extends to the celebrities who involved themselves in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Having volunteered for the Singapore Youth Olympic Games in 2010, I am learned in the ways on how volunteers can be engaged for the unique 5-ring experience. It is a test and validation of personal and team leadership. We have to pay attention to detail, and pay more attention to our volunteers. They are crucial to the success and character of the Games, which is often marked by trial and tribulations.

Having participated in dozens of marathons and triathlons, I am mindful and appreciative of the volunteers who make our personal challenges more meaningful and doable. They express care and consideration for us, beginning, during and after the event. It still means something special when a volunteer places a medal around our neck.

Help us thank a volunteer. We certainly will need them in the future.

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