Saturday, August 18, 2012

Olympic Makers: Addiction or Just Another Job?

When I first saw my name among the Greeks to have gained the scholarship
 and be involved at the planning and organization
of the Sydney Olympic Games in mid 1999,
I felt very lucky and proud.

I also felt an imperceptible fear..
and it was not fear of moving to another continent on my 22...
although I love my country,
my age and my personality did not allow space for those kind of restrictions.
Years later, I realized that this fear
was nothing more or less than the inner feeling
that once you do the step then it will be difficult to go back...
and I tried a couple of times - without success obviously -
I may even try again in the future - who knows -
but now 13 years later it is clear to my mind:
 It is like the "joker" in playing cards games.
Once you draw the joker,
no matter if it changes your plans or does not really match with the initial
thoughts in your head, you just do not throw it back.

And then, after a while,
you realize that you can not reply to the simple question
 "and you, where do you live?",
so you reply "I am a citizen of the world",
which is half true, half convenient.

You may forget your jacket or your wallet,
but you never forget your Accreditation,
you see familiar faces that you do not really know
but it is always a pleasure to meet them around
and you see some others that you pretend you did not see..
-come on, you have done it at least once ;)
- you get to know drinking games from all different cultures of the planet,
your vocabulary is enriched with some strange words like "pigeonholes",
 "mixed zone" and "post event depression",
you hate all kind of uniforms, 
and when you go back "home" suddenly you notice
those orange barricades at the side of the street
and you are not wondering anymore why your old schoolmates believe
that you are a little bit "strange"!

But also, you make lifetime friendships,
you feel the excitement of creation,
you witness the outcome of your job -
 often at the same time with billions of people across the world -
and you experience the respective judgement on the spot,
you feel the agony of the athletes,
you experience world records,
you get to know new cultures and habits,
you plan recovery trips after the Games,
you hear your National Anthem in the Olympic Stadium,
you cry, you laugh,
and then you say goodbye and..."let's go one more" - or not!

Either way you feel blessed and you are!