“Fellow travellers to the vision of the Olympic Games”. This was how, at the 1st Training Seminar, at the War Museum on Wednesday evening (21 January 2004), ATHENS 2004 International Relations General Manager, Dionyssis Gangas, described the 600 or so Volunteers who will be working in summer as National Olympic Committee Assistants.
The event, which took place in a crowded room, marked the start of Games volunteer training by the Organising Committee. First were the Volunteers who will assist the International Relations Division in its task of welcoming just over 200 National Olympic Committees due to arrive in Greece for the Olympic Games in the summer of 2004, and extending hospitality and service to them.
This particular special training programme will consist of 10 three-hour seminars. It will run from January to July 2004. It is the most demanding seminar in terms of training requirements, and has attracted the largest number of available Volunteers. The NOC assistants will be ‘accredited attendants’ to the 201 National Olympic Committees at Games-time.
The training session included the following talks:
Olympism and the Olympic Movement – by Dionyssis Gangas, International Relations General Manager
The Olympic Family – by Gianfranco Cameli, International Relations Consultant
ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games – by Tania Minogianni, Communications Office Project Manager
National Olympic Committee Relations and services provided / International Relations staff and their role – by László Vajda, NOC Relations and Services Manager
Olympic Sports & Disciplines – by Makis Assimakopoulos, Sports General Manager
Olympic Venues – by Andreas Tsochantaris, Venue Operations General Manager
Statistics about National Olympic Committee Volunteer assistants
Number of National Olympic Committee Assistants: 650
Number of NOCs they will support: 201
Age: 20-65 (70% are aged 20-35)
Sex: Two-thirds of the Volunteers are women
Number of Foreign Languages known: 36
Availability status: They will be working for four to six weeks
Employment period: 23 July – 1 September
In his presentation, Dionysis Gangas described Olympism as an “attitude to life, highlighting and combining in a balanced whole the virtues of body, will and spirit”. He then went on to describe the modern Olympic Movement and its major symbols (Hymn, Ceremonies, Flag, Medals, Mottoes, Oath, Flame, and Torch); to outline the role and structure of ATHENS 2004; and to analyse the function of the participants in the organisation of the Olympic Games (ATHENS 2004, IOC, National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations, Government Departments, and other governmental bodies).
Gianfranco Cameli analysed the Olympic Family’s structure and its importance in the development of the Olympic Movement. He also outlined the services that will be provided to delegations at the Olympic Village.
The ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games vision, mission, values and visual identity (emblem, mascot, pictograms, permitted colours, secondary graphics, and main marks), and the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Torch Relay, the first truly universal Torch Relay, were presented by Tania Minogianni.
The internal structure of the International Relations Division, the way it works, and its contacts with the National Olympic Committees of the five Continents via the five Regional Directors (for Europe, Africa, America, Asia, and Oceania) was explained by László Vajda.
Makis Asimakopoulos presented the Olympic Sports and Disciplines and went into detail about pre-Olympic preparation, the sport training guide, and the organisation of the Sport Events.
The three types of Competition Venues (of which there are 38) and their structure and functions formed the subject of Andreas Tsochantaris’ presentation. He also introduced the Non-Competition Venues (Olympic Village, International Broadcasting Centre, Media Villages, Olympic Family Hotels, Airport, Piraeus Port, and the Head Offices of ATHENS 2004).
This first training session was coordinated by NOC Relations Manager Eleni Lampadariou. Every Volunteer trainee who took part in the Session was given the Job-Specific Training Modules and a special commemorative lapel pin with the programme’s logo. All have received written notice of their personal participation schedule (hours, days and area) up to June 2004.
With the start of the training programme the ATHENS 2004 Volunteer Programme is now in full swing, with the Recruitment Department’s activities bringing in over 138,000 individual Volunteer Applications so far.