Wellingborough athlete Melanie Ryding, who will represent Great Britain in the World Triathlon Championships in New Zealand, has spent the Olympic fortnight as a Gamesmaker in London.
Here she talks about her volunteer role and how she helped to make the Games happen.
With praise like this from Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic committee it makes me very proud to say I was a London 2012 Gamesmaker.
‘We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these Games.’
‘The volunteers should be nominated for the BBC’s Sports Personality Team of the Year award for the vital role they have played’ the British Olympic Association’s chairman Colin Moynihan has said.
None of this is why I chose to be a gamesmaker.
I chose to volunteer because I wanted to be able to say I was a part of a historic sporting event, the Olympic Games in the UK, something that will never come round again in my lifetime.
My journey through the games involved very early mornings, late nights, standing up all day and getting repeatedly wet.
I saw the dawn rise (more than once!), experienced night buses and the first trains out of underground stations, but I wouldn’t change any of it!
The purple and red London 2012 outfit seemed to unite London.
People spoke to each other on the public transport systems, people were not afraid to ask me a question, or simply say hello.
On one of my last shifts, the crowds who were still amassed in Hyde Park spontaneously cheered us in as the gamesmakers walked back as a group from our marshalling positions.
That was very special.
I met a wide range of people from all over the UK, and all over the world.
A lovely lady from New Zealand got me a coffee, and we chatted about how I was coming to her wonderful country with the GB triathlon team later this year.
Some Americans were telling me how they were going to all the free sporting events because they were unable to get tickets but just wanted to be a part of it.
I spoke to so many people from so many countries, all there to be a part of London 2012 and support their athletes.
The wonderful people of Cobham, where I marshalled the road cycling time trial, made me proud to be British: it was a sea of red white and blue in support of Bradley Wiggins.
They were out there all day with their barbecues, street decorations, flags and hooters, five to ten deep in places.
London transport should be proud of themselves too. The trademark pink London2012 signs were on all tube maps and all tube stations, making getting to games venues incredibly easy for visitors.
Boris Johnson’s London ambassadors team were simple everywhere around London in their trademark pink shirts, I even found one to help me in Uxbridge, the very outskirts of the London suburbs.
I was one of the 70,000 volunteers who helped to make it happen, and I am proud.
London, you put on a spectacular show. Now, where do I apply to be a volunteer in Rio?
See a video montatge of Melanie’s experiences here.