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I Was A Volunteer For RIO 2016 Olympics

September 8, 2016

Rio 2016 Volunteer Overview

I was a volunteer for Rio 2016 Olympics and it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made yet.

You can view a video highlight  here: “Road to Rio” as a volunteer!

This was a 2 year process that started in 2014 to fully confirm my participation in the 2016 Olympic Games.

I applied right after I took my very first trip to Brazil. I was so fascinated with country, the people and I imagined it would be a great idea to be apart of the greatest event ever to be held in South America.

For those of you who have been following me and my travels for a while now, you will know that South America is my play ground. I travel below the equator a couple of times per year and so far it’s one of my favourites.

My thoughts were, the biggest of events is coming to South America for the very first time. My main question was, ‘when will there ever be another opportunity like this so close me again?’ I then began to see it as a “Once In A Lifetime Experience”.

Volunteer Process

So here is the breakdown. I applied to be a volunteer in October of 2014. Went through the interview process in September 2015 and finally got accepted in November of 2015. The “Road to Rio” was imminent.

On July 29th, 2016 I was en route to the Brazil from Kingston, Jamaica.  19 hours after I made it to Olympic City, Rio de Janeiro with, Avianca; A Star Alliance Member.

Volunteer Insight

Did I ever second guess this move? Absolutely not. I saw it as a once in a life time experience. Furthermore, it is not very often you get the chance to be a part of the olympics. Rio 2016 was about to be my first.

I was excited and thrilled at the opportunity. I could not wait to see what it was going to be like to give back at such a grand event.

I have always viewed volunteering as a great way to experience and to help where it is need. Of course, it is also a great opportunity for someone looking to travel, meet people from all over the globe and to experience a different culture.

rio-2016-olympics

What Was It Like to Volunteer

So, this is the part I am even more excited to share with you all. I arrived a week before the starting of the games. During this time, I had a scheduled session to pick my uniform which were brightly decorated in Olympic colours. Every piece of gear was Rio 2016 themed, from head to toe. I loved it. Fun fact: A Swatch Rio themed watch was also included in the uniform kit. So cool! 

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Volunteering aboard also means meeting new friends. Within my very first couple of hours of being here, I met volunteers from all over which are now friends. Friends from Russia, Turkey, England, Mexico, Italy, Estonia and Brazil itself,  just to name a few.

My first week was mainly a meet and greet; olympic teams sightings, city sight-seeing and scheduling with new friends.

Down to Business

I was assigned to be at the Maracanã and Maranacãzinho Stadium. Home to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the final events for the men’s and women’s football games and Indoor Volleyball respectively.

My very first day entering Maracanã Stadium was for the Opening Ceremony for the Rio 2016 games. It was a night filled with colours, culture, excitement, star athletes, and of course countless nail-biting moments as I was mostly in disbelief about being there.

To have experienced the Opening Ceremony on my very first day entering Maracanã,  I knew this was about to be an unforgettable time.

Most of my days were spent between these two stadiums and my job was to assist spectators with their tickets. You’d be surprised about the daily issues that would occur from just within the ticketing zones. From faulty bar-coded tickets to spectators not being able to find their assigned seats, simply because they just do not exists.

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Volunteering at the Rio 2016 games was like no event I have ever been apart of. I think one of the most exciting part about it for me, was seeing people from all over the world representing their countries. How passionate they were watching their favourite teams or teams playing, and of course coming in close contacts with the athletes. For the most part, because of how astonished I was,  I just stood and stared. Great memories!

I was a volunteer for

Rio 2016 Olympics

and it was probably one of the

best decisions I’ve made yet.

Furthermore, everyday was like a new adventure. From the early mornings I slipped into my favourite “Rio 2016” gears until the late evenings I check-out of the Maracanã stadium. It was always a day that is filled with excitement, surprises, and the unexpected. To my surprise, after being in Rio for a few days I was invited to partner with Innclusive for my next coming travels. I am truly excited to travel with them to Iceland in a few weeks. Stay tuned to see the updates.

It Was Not ALL about Working

Athletics, Basketball, Fencing, Equestrian, Volleyball, Football. I got to experience all these games courtesy of the Rio 2016 Volunteers Team. How do I even put it into words seeing the final football game between Brazil & Germany or seeing Usain Bolt running the 100m and 200m finale? I can’t! I just can’t express the feeling, the atmosphere or just the thought of seeing this live. This was a big tick on my bucket-list.

maracana-brazil-rio-2016

rio-2016-olympics

In addition to that, if you know me at all or even a little,  you’ll know I will take any chance to ram the edges of the city.

Rio de Janeiro is such a beautiful city. One that is filled with character, friendly people, mountain peaks, more peaks and delicious Caipirinhas (local Brazilian drink). Being a ‘tourist’ on my days-off and free time, time was a must.

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rio-2016-0lympics

lapa-rio-2016-brazil

 

An all around Rio 2016 experience wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t get the chance to visit the other Olympic venues. Each venues had a different setting, a different atmosphere so I was happy to have been able to visit them all.

Rio 2016, was my first but definitely won’t be my last. I had such a good time. The experience was timeless and I was happy to have been there for the entire 16 days of games to offer the help needed.

This didn’t come easy. It was a 2-year process that was worth every hour.

Tokyo 2020 is in 4 years and I am already looking forward to it.

Here’s what you need to know if you are thinking of heading to Tokyo 2020 as a volunteer.

– The volunteer portal opens up 2 years before the starting of the games. Apply early. The earlier the better. You are more likely to get the job and sports location that would like to have. You can keep checking here for updates.

– Pay close attention to your email that you signed up with. Follow ups will be emailed to you from time to time, along with how to book your interview date and possibly your “Welcome to the Team” letter. You don’t want to miss out on this so pay attention.

– You will get an entire uniform kit so pack to accommodate the extra Tokyo2020 gear.

– Make sure to bring outfits that represent your country. Whenever you are not working, represent your country. Get in the spirit, show off and share your country. It is so fun to represent. I made the mistake of just bring 2  shirts that represented my country for Rio 2016. I now know what I will doing for Tokyo 2020.

– Get a few tickets for some of the games you would like to see when you are there. The earlier you buy them, the cheaper they will be. It will be a little difficult if you wait until you arrive in Tokyo to get tickets.

– Spectators, volunteers and participants are really enthusiastic about pins. Let me stress this again. Spectators, volunteers and participants are really enthused about pins. If you are into collecting Olympic-themed pins or just regular pins from different countries, here’s my advice. Before landing in Japan, order a few dozen custom-made Olympic-themed pins that represents your country. You will get to be apart of the game by swapping a pin with spectators, volunteers and participants. Another mistake I made before landing in Brazil. I was completely clueless that this was a thing.

However, I managed to have received a few as gifts.

 

Rio 2016, you were magical. See you in 4 years at Tokyo 2020!

rio-2016-olympics

 

This post contains sponsored material. 

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply Julia February 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Hey shea, I hope you are well. In volunteering for Rio, did you have to pay for your ticket their?

  • Reply Travelling Is Not Expensive. You're Just Doing It Wrong - The World Up Closer February 25, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    […] I was a bit hesitant listing volunteering as an option some might think volunteering might take away the ‘freedom to travel’.  Giving a lending hand can be so much fun. It gives that gives you the opportunity to help in an area you enjoy doing and learn about a new culture. On most cases, you are allowed to volunteer in a field that you personally enjoy and more so it can be done all over the world while experiencing something new. My last volunteer opportunity was being A Volunteer in Rio Olympics 2016.  […]

  • Reply 17 Visa-Free Countries For Caribbean Nationals to Visit in 2017 - The World Up Closer January 5, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    […] but love for Brazil. I recently completed my second visit to Brazil last summer when I was a Volunteer for Rio 2016 Olympics. The locals are friendly and the landscape is stunning. Brazil is a pretty big country […]

  • Reply 10 Best Countries To Visit On A Jamaican Passport | Your News On Time! November 16, 2016 at 10:12 am

    […] I was just here for the 2016 Rio Olympics. You can read about it here: Rio 2016 Volunteer […]

  • Reply Shaday November 14, 2016 at 3:44 am

    What do we cover as a volunteer for the trip just our plan ride or is there more?

  • Reply 10 Best Countries To Visit On A Jamaican Passport - The World Up Closer November 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    […] I was just here for the 2016 Rio Olympics. You can read about it here: Rio 2016 Volunteer […]

  • Reply Sally Urban September 12, 2016 at 10:11 am

    It was great seeing your photos earlier on Facebook and Twitter. It was even better to read more of the details. So, how about the Winter Olympics??

    • Shea Powell
      Reply Shea Powell September 12, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Winter Olympics in South Korea.. That sounds like another adventure to me.. 🙂

  • Reply thirdworldcitizen876 September 11, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    thanks for sharing Shea!

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