While Canadian Olympians were giving their everything on the world’s stage, another group of people were doing the same behind the scenes to help our athletes perform at their highest potential.
Over the two weeks that spanned the Games, 90 proud Canadians have dedicated their lives to working for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) as volunteers.
Spread throughout several different venues across London, including Canada Olympic House (COH) in Trafalgar Square, volunteers assisted in areas such as outfitting, communications and corporate services.
“They have worked long hours, lifted heavy boxes and really came together and made COH an amazing place to be,” said COH volunteer coordinator Caroline Baker. “The best part has been the positive attitude of everybody involved.”
Peshaunquet Shognosh, a fourth-grade teacher who volunteered with the protocol team at COH, devoted himself entirely to the volunteer experience.
“I didn’t come here to take a day off. I came here to work and be the team behind the team,” he said.
William Lindsay, a university student who also volunteered at the Vancouver 2010 Games, was based at COH in London. He hosted the medal winners and made sure they were taken care of when they came to the House to celebrate with their family, friends, and fellow Canadians.
“Celebrating Rosie MacLennan’s gold medal was a personal highlight for me. Rosie was one of the volunteers at COH in Vancouver so I got to know her there and we became friends,” he said.
Adam Kourakis, a 20-year-old aspiring Olympic triathlete who shares the same coach as Simon Whitfield, didn’t qualify for London 2012 but still wanted to be involved.
Kourakis camped out in a tent and biked to COH everyday. Despite his racing gear, and a bag of souvenirs being stolen from the campsite, he still raved about having the opportunity to be an Olympic volunteer.
“I got to meet a lot of cool people and do a lot of cool things. It’s been a surreal experience, a real dream come true,” he said.
Perhaps Kourakis is the next Rosie MacLennan and we’ll be watching his Olympic dreams come true on the podium in Rio.
– Kristina Velan