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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Free Olympic Tickets for Nearest and Dearest

This morning I was fortunate to attend the launch of P&Gs Olympic Partnership called Nearest and Dearest, valuing the role of athletes' support networks prior to and during the London 2012 games.

Free tickets for families and friends
Previously I had assumed that athletes received automatic ticket allocation, but this is not the case at all! Fortunately, P&G, one of London 2012 main sponsors have plenty to go around and have generously allocated a large part for their Nearest and Dearest: 2 per Olympian and 4 per Paralympian (who tend to have bigger teams of support- and often more seats available).

Too much support?
Andy Hunt, Team GB's Chef de Mission and CEO of British Olympic Association, outlined how athletes' friends and family support is so important - but so is limiting the distractions to athletes that could obstruct the competing element.

Diffused in the form of roadshows and workshops up and down the country for the next 6 months, athletes' Nearest and Dearest will gain all information needed to prepare themselves for the event of their life-time: access information, how they can help best support the athletes, ticket information, and possible media training. With an emphasis on digital media, online forums, and building a network of these key supporters, Olympians and Paralympians should feel all grounds are covered and can focus on their event entirely, instead of explaining to friends how to find a parking spot moments before a race (as happened to Sophia Warner, GB Paralympic sprinter!).

Colin Jackson (former 110m hurdles champion) outlined how family asking how they could help was "always well intentioned, but because of my training I couldn't always give them enough time to explain or help. This will provide a real support for both the families and the athletes"

Valuing the Nearest and Dearest
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, added that the emphasis was on the involvement and value of the people behind the athletes, recognising the key role they play in helping them achieve their goals. Reflecting this, will be the P&G branded Nearest and Dearest Lounge welcoming their friends and family during the Games in a comfortable setting and supposedly acting as an easy meeting point when athletes are available to meet up. P&G Olympics Project Director, Nathan Homer, also outlined the charitable foundation P&G have set up, helping mums across the country to receive bursaries specifically to reach their dreams, with athletes sitting on the judging panel.

In a nutshell, it was wonderful to hear how P&G, the BOA and BPA were together improving communications for the athletes' support network and guaranteeing tickets per athlete, but even more so, hearing from the athletes themselves how they prepare for the games and all this while leading seemingly normal lives.

Keri-Anne Payne (Team GB marathon swimmer) explained how she was getting married in September 2012 - amazing how she's planning her wedding parallel to the Games- and that she's looking forward to hearing her brothers' voice shouting out from the crowds. She assured us that she can still hear the cheers from the crowd despite her head being underwater! She's so delighted that her family can be there especially after panicking after such high demand for tickets. Now she doesn't have to think about it, and can concentrate on winning GB some medals!

Sophia Warner (GB Paralympic sprinter) is already a mother of 2 young children with a full-on marketing career and has been training for over 12 years! What a woman. She's taken a year out to concentrate on the Games and unsurprisingly expects a bit more of a helping hand from her man over the next few months ;)

Colin Jackson happily compered the conference though I rushed off before explaining to him personally how he was my hubby's finishing line dipping idol when younger.

I attended the launch following my involvement with the Life Before P&G challenge, but the Olympics/P&G partnership is considered to be the most far-reaching in Olympic history spanning the next 10 years which is pretty awesome.

1 comment:

  1. I found you on Mummy's Little Monkey's Blog Hop. I was at Super Saturday too. What a great thing for P&G to do. Great write up.