I am finally beginning to recover from the jet lag. The way over was no problem but coming back, well that has not been easy! It was quite a trip and learning experience. From a sport management perspective there were certainly some issues, that is not to say things did not go well or run pretty smoothly. Part of our learning experience is to note any problems, and see if there are ways to improve them for future events.
First was the language barriers, French was pretty much left out of the Olympics and it is an official language of the games. The volunteers all spoke either English or Italian (some both but mostly Italian). This made things a bit difficult sometimes as we always had to have a speaker of each language on duty especially since only Italians seem to speak Italian. This was frustrating for the athletes, coaches and spectators who we were trying to help. It also would have been helpful if the volunteers had badges that indicated what languages they spoke. We noticed that the counter crew at McDonalds had utilized this method to aid in communication, so it must be effective.
Another complication was budgeting. They ran out of some pretty neccessary items but over did it on others such as our uniforms. We were given a long sleeve t-shirt, two fleeces, a jacket, snow pants, boots, gloves, a beenie, a backpack, and ear bags; these things were wonderful, but where we were working we did not need such warm weather gear and really only wore the fleece. The venues alone can drain a nation's funds and any unneccessary spending should be avoided.
Thirdly, travel was difficult due to a lack of signage and again, language barriers. If you did not know exactly how to get somewhere, you could get pretty lost. The trains and buses were easy enough to understand but getting the right shuttle could be hard.
There were some other minor issues, but to me these seemed to be the most important. Overall the Olympics were good and I think Italy did pretty well; especially since it is such a large event and it is not as if they have put one on in recent history. Each nation that takes on the Olympics starts fresh. To know exactly what to do is not possible and so it is expected that there will be some complications.
The Olympics were a great experience and I am truly thankful for the opportunity. I would like to thank a few people that made the trip possible and enjoyable. First Sarah and Dr. Lyman, thank you so much for working so hard to get us in as volunteers. The University of the Pacific, thank you for making this a class and allowing us to leave during the semester to work this amazing event. The Stockton Record, your support has been marvelous; I really appreciate you hosting this blog and informing the community about our work. Mrs. and Mr. Perata, I can't tell you how grateful we all were for the shuttle to the airport it made life so much easier! My classmates, even though our conflicting work schedules kept us from spending much time together, I enjoyed getting to know you all a little better. Lastly, I would like to thank my parents; Mom and Dad, there is no way I could have gone on the trip without you and your support. I love you and I hope you know how much this meant to me.