How to become an Olympic volunteer

05 Dec 2016
IOC News

It is often said that it is the volunteers who “make the Games”. Early on, the organising committees of this global sports event launch programmes allowing tens of thousands of people from all backgrounds to apply to work in the most varied of areas of expertise, to ensure the smooth running of the Games. Would you like to become an Olympic volunteer?

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 04:  Olympic volunteers pose for a 'selfie' photograph ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Athletes Olympic Village on February 4, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images) Getty Images
How do you become an Olympic volunteer? 

Applications for the PyeongChang 2018 volunteer programme closed in September 2016. Over 90.000 people applied for 22,400 volunteer positions for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, with the only restriction being a minimum age of 18. The Tokyo 2020 programme has kicked off in 2018, two years before the event. You can find all the information you need on the official website. So check it out to see if you can apply in your area of expertise. These are many and varied. The only must-have is enthusiasm. The chance to go for a uniquely exceptional experience is at your fingertips!

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10:  Olympic volunteer Stephen Delevante helps with crowd control on August 10, 2012 in London, England. Thousand of Olympic volunteers have spent the past two weeks helping with all aspects around the Games herding crowds in and out of venues with endless enthusiasm making the London 2012 Olympic Games unforgettable.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) Getty Images
What does the work involve?

There were 50,000 of them for Rio 2016, for example. Volunteers' areas of expertise on the huge Olympic stage take many forms and in all languages, with athletes and teams, with spectators, and during the competitions themselves. Customer service, press and communications, health services, technology, protocol and languages, transport, opening and closing ceremonies, operational support for the Organising Committee, sports events, etc. 

Coming from all over the globe, speaking all languages, volunteers, as London 2012 Organising Committee Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe put it, “are the lifeblood of the Olympic Games.

BEIJING - AUGUST 20:  Volunteers wipe down the court during the match between the United States and Serbia during the volleyball event at the Capital Indoor Stadium during Day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 20, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images) Getty Images
What are the benefits of Olympic volunteering?

Olympic volunteering is also a chance to meet people from all backgrounds, and to focus individual and collective energy on serving others. It is an important commitment which requires a combination of competences and experiences. In return, volunteers obtain benefits that can last a lifetime. They make professional contacts and new friends; are given exclusive training; and receive a uniform and a participation certificate. A fantastic opportunity for their own personal development, the pleasure of being actively involved in a global celebration, and the satisfaction that comes from that.

Anyone can be a volunteer at the Olympic Games. Each organising committee generally launches a programme around two years before the event. In Rio in August 2016, they were from 56 different countries. Eighty per cent of them were Brazilian, with 20 per cent coming from elsewhere in the world. In Tokyo in 2020, the organisers expect that some 80,000 people will be needed in all areas of expertise. Whoever has been to the Games, whether as an athlete, official, media representative or spectator, never forgets the smiles and dedication of the volunteers.

INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 10:  Volunteers remove heavy snow from the speed skating venue before the Winter Youth Olympic Games at Olympiaworld on January 10, 2012 in Innsbruck, Austria.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) Getty Images
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