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Olympic stories: Living the dream

Journalism graduate Manleen Gill describes her role in the success of London's Olympic Games.
by Ben Sawtell

nullWith the city of London still reeling from its Olympic high, I continue to celebrate 2012 as the year I championed my very own Olympic dream. Just three days after graduating from my journalism course at City University London I began work with the Olympic Broadcasting Services, on their esteemed broadcast training programme.

I was initially stationed at Lee Valley White Water Centre for the extreme water sporting event of Canoe Slalom, where I got a picture (left) with Tim Bailie who won gold as part of Team GB's Men's Canoe Double (C2) team. However, I soon moved onto weightlifting and judo in the ExCel arena.

Through my role as liaison officer, I was able to truly experience the best of both worlds that the Olympics has to offer; one concerning the media and the other focused on the athletes. I was required to work closely with both, bringing together these two entities for the sporting event of the year.

I would direct athletes off the field of play and into an area called the 'mixed zone', where broadcasters would be waiting to interview their country's champion competitors. 

Working in such close proximity to the most recognised names in the media industry was a surreal experience for an aspiring reporter like myself. BBC presenter and former triple jump Olympic gold medalist Jonathon Edwards was just one of the many famous personalities working alongside me in the mixed zone. Their expertise opened up a whole new world of sports broadcasting that was entirely unfamiliar to me. 

When it was all over, when the medals were dished out and the venues were vacated, the significance of the entire Olympic experience dawned on me. It's rarefied work, separate from familiar reality, existing in its own glorious bubble. But the bubble doesn't burst, nor do I feel deflated at the end of my experience, instead I'm left feeling thoroughly inspired.

I learnt the importance of working in collaboration, not only with members of my team, but with all the international broadcasters who radiated patriotic passion on behalf of their countries.

For what will be the only time in my lifetime, I can say that I watched as my hometown hosted the 30th Olympic Games. And in years to come, I will remember that in 2012 my city was more alive than it's ever been, and I was privileged to have been at the centre of it all.

Tomorrow's article is from one of City's event managers, Louise Gordon, who took part in the opening ceremony.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.