Swansea at the Games

The Alumni Office has been overwhelmed with stories of how our alumni are involved with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Below is just some of the ways in which Swansea University graduates are ensuring this year’s Games are the best yet...

You can view pictures of when the Olympic Torch passed the University campus here.

At the Games...

Gillian Crow

Gillian Crow (nee Hood) (Latin, 1965)

Performer at the Opening and Closing ceremonies

“I was directed to the 2012 Olympics website, where there was a call for volunteer performers for the Opening and Closing ceremonies. As I had failed in the allocation of tickets for either of these events, I thought I would have a go at performing.

Two auditions and several months later I was delighted to hear that I had been offered a role. I am now looking forward to the start of rehearsals later this month. I shall be 69 by the time the Games begin, and remember as a 5-year-old child watching the 1948 London Olympics on a very small black-and-white television set. I never thought I would be taking part the next time the Games came to London!”

Interesting fact: Gillian met her husband, Mechanical Engineering student Simon Crow at Swansea.

Andy Wright

Andy Wright (Geography, 1998)

London Ambassador

“I moved to London after graduating from Swansea University in 1998, and got sucked into the pace of the city. I love it! When I heard about the Olympics I looked at being a Games Maker and a London Ambassador. The Ambassador role means more to me as I love sharing my insider knowledge about this great city.

That's what Ambassadors do - share info about London. We're going to wear shocking pink and purple outfits so we're easily identifiable to those in need of information and possibly inspiration about London. Questions will include; ticketing, transport, entertainment, food, cultural tips, anything really!

It has been quite a commitment for all volunteers; we don't get paid, not even with a ticket. We have to train for three days prior to the event and typically must commit to six consecutive days volunteering. But why not! I love London and the Olympics have always got me excited so I’m happy to put aside all the negative connotations surrounding the event and be part of a team that makes this the biggest and best Olympics so far.

I am proud to represent London to locals, visitors and competitors alike. It will be tough but it's going to one brilliant party and it will never happen again in my lifetime. What am I going tell the kids? That I didn't do anything? No, I did a little, not a lot but I helped a few folk have a better time in this city.”

Ian Carpenter

Ian Carpenter (Geography, 1975; PGCE, 1976)

Games Maker

“As a lifelong runner and more recently competing in triathlons I have always tried to give something back to my sports. I have volunteered for the last couple of years at the Dextro Energy London, Hyde Park Triathlon and am also a Regional Technical Official with the British Triathlon Federation (BTF) refereeing triathlons across the west and south west of England.

As a result of this volunteering I was asked to apply for a Games Maker role at the Olympics. The opportunity to be part of the ‘greatest event on earth’ and to be so close to the elite athletes was something I didn’t need to think twice about.

I went through the normal interview process and training, and was asked to work at the Triathlon test event in Hyde Park, as well as volunteering for the Road Cycling test event. These test events were amazing as British athletes won them all! Afterwards I was asked if I would also volunteer for the Road Cycling time trial so I am now a Games Maker for three events. My role as a Games Maker will be as part of the field-of-play safety team, ensuring the race course is safe for the athletes and members of the public.”

Dr. Barry Conrad Garnham

Dr. Barry Conrad Garnham (BEng Mechanical Engineering, 2005; MRes Materials Engineering 2007; PhD 2011)

Performer at Opening Ceremony

Barry has been selected to perform at the Olympic opening ceremony, along with his brother, Darius (also a Swansea graduate). They will be performing on their bikes, which will involve high speed manoeuvres and crossovers with some dance elements thrown in. Barry said “I’m really looking forward to taking part in this event. I have already made many friends and everyone comes from such a variety of backgrounds; it really will be an all-inclusive multicultural British showcase. It’s a once in a life time opportunity to be involved with an Olympic event, and being a home Olympics makes it even more special.”

Claudine Ratnayake

Claudine Ratnayake currently works for London 2012, and has been responsible for planning the Torch Relay route for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We caught up with Claudine ahead of the Torch Relay which visited Swansea on the 26th and 27th of May. Read more...

Constructing the Games...

Richard Selby

Richard Selby (Civil Engineering, 2002)

Head of Construction Services, Mabey Bridge Limited

Richard has been involved with the construction of the Olympic Park, including the fabrication and installation of 33 bridges around and into the Park.

Manji Gami

Manji Gami (Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 1988)

Managing Director, Urmet Domus Communication and Security UK Ltd

Since 2010, Urmet have been involved with supplying access control and video entry systems for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Athletes' Village. This includes around 3000 video apartment stations, 700 access control readers and 70 digital video call modules.

Georgina Friend

Georgina Friend (Sports Science, 2006)

Torch Bearer

Georgina currently works at the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) Stoke Mandeville as Head of the Sports Rehab. On the 30th June Georgina carried the Olympic Flame through Wolverhampton after being nominated by an ex-patient. Georgina had encouraged her ex-patient to explore Paralympic sport, and she is now part of the Great Britain Paralympic Athletics team. Georgina will be at the Paralympic Games in London, working with Great Britain’s Wheelchair Rugby Squad.

Phillipa Sampson

Phillipa Sampson (Community Health Studies, 2012)

Torch Bearer

Phillipa carried the torch through Llanelli on 27th May and was nominated to become a torch bearer for her work in the community. Phillipa runs several marathons a year to raise money for charity and spends time visiting Zambia to take care of orphans, many of whom have AIDS. Phillipa said “It was an honour and a privilege to carry the flame and I will never forget it. Friends, family and other spectators were what made the experience so special.”

Josephine Loughran

Josephine Loughran (Psychology, 1979)

Torch Bearer

Josephine carried the torch through York on the 20th June. She was nominated to carry the torch as she, along with her brother, donated part of their lungs in a pioneering operation to try to save her terminally ill sister. Josephine said “To me, the Olympics is the ultimate event, encompassing individual and team excellence, great history, worldwide appeal and a great spectacle for all lifestyles. I am very proud and happy to be associated in any small way with London 2012. I was never going to qualify as an athlete, so torch bearing is a wonderful thing to do! It really feels as if the whole of the UK is getting a real injection of patriotism at what couldn't be a better time!”

Mark Vale

Mark Vale (Management Science, 1986)

Torch Bearer

Mark carried the torch through Nottingham on the 28th June. He is currently based in Atlanta, USA as an International Chief Financial Officer for UPS, who are a sponsor for the 2012 Games, and support the logistics of all the events. His nomination story describes him as being part of a ‘core senior leadership team’ at UPS, and someone who has provided the company with ‘key direction’ and being ‘instrumental in many aspects of business growth and long term stability.’

Hayley Brown (nee Laite)

Hayley Brown (nee Laite) (Sport Science, 2004 and Nursing, 2011)

First Responder

Soon after graduating and commencing my new role as a Cardiothoracic Surgical Nurse I applied for a Nursing role in the Olympics. I love the Olympics and wanted to be a part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and thought it amalgamated both of my degree subjects perfectly. I have always been a keen sports enthusiast, swimming competitively and dreaming from a young girl of one day reaching the Olympics! Being a Nurse is just a different avenue I've taken to reach those dreams. I will be based at the ExCel and Greenwich Park where I will be a first responder to any medical problems occurring within the event.

Helping at the Games...

Emma Stuart

Emma Stuart (BA History & Politics, 2006; MA International Relations, 2008)

Deputy Events Manager, St John Ambulance in London

Emma’s role involves the co-ordination of all medical and emergency planning for all of the Olympic Road Races, the live sites and the Olympic Torch relay for 7 days whilst in London including the evening celebration sites. Emma liaises on a daily basis with the police, ambulance service, councils, event organisers and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Maria Tonchievici

Maria Tonchievici (MA Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology, 2010)

Mentor at Royal Borough of Greenwich

Maria has been offered a Games-time role at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, working with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) for the Transport Department. Maria describes this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and says “I am so honoured and proud to be representing my country (Romania) amongst the entire workforce at the Olympics. I’m looking forward to this incredibly memorable and valuable experience.”

Martin Roach

Martin Roach (Civil Engineering, 1978)

Travel Ambassador

Martin, Lead Engineer Construction at London Underground is volunteering at the Games as a Travel Ambassador and will be posted at strategic transport hubs to provide general advice and assistance to those travelling to Games venues.

Mike Clyne

Mike Clyne (Psychology, 1988)

Games Maker for Triathlon and Road Cycling

Mike, a HR Consultant at FeMan Consulting Limited was RAG Chairman in his second year and the RAG sabbatical officer in 1988/89.

Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams is an MPhil Sports Science student and alongside her studies she took up an internship with Sport Wales as a volunteer physiologist. Her role involves providing applied support to national and international swimmers including hydration analysis and monitoring blood lactates. Natalie also takes an active part in supporting, maintaining and monitoring the physiological aspect of a swimmer’s training needs.

Natalie attended the swimming trials in March at the Olympic Aquatic Centre alongside Welsh funded swimmers. Swansea team-mates Georgia Davies and Jemma Lowe both took part in the research conducted by Natalie and they both qualified for London 2012.

Natalie has also volunteered for the Olympic Games; she was one of 10,000 people who attended an orientation event at Wembley Arena in February. Natalie says, “I am delighted to be volunteering at the Aquatic Centre as a lifeguard, supporting the athletes.”