By Brandon Miller, Monster Contributing Writer
With the 2010 Winter Olympics being held in Vancouver, Canada, some lucky residents are getting in on the action. Behind every graceful ice skater and beyond every lightning-fast downhill skier, there’s the unseen face of an Olympic worker making the competitions possible.
Yes, there are actual jobs working for the games. Some are volunteer positions and some are paid roles, but all of them offer a chance to be a part of the world’s most famed competition. Here are the stories of a few lucky folks who help to make the games happen.
Overseeing the Medal Ceremonies
Normally, Whistler Blackcomb is home to husband and wife Chuck and Esta Prenevost's weekend ski instruction business. But with its mountain runs turned over to the winter games, the couple's business was effectively closed down. Realizing this negative impact, the Vancouver organizers offered the Prenevosts a chance to recover some of their lost income.
Chuck's duties range from prepping the venue for the nightly medal presentations to making sure all equipment arrives at each location on time. “The cool part of it is that every night I get to see each and every athlete get a medal put around his or her neck,” he says. Working at the athlete’s village in Whistler, Esta will be an ambassador of sorts, greeting coaches and athletes, and directing the teams to where they need to go.
And even though they’ll be working long hours and 13 or 14 days straight through, the Prenevosts aren’t complaining. “I think it’s a once in a lifetime chance,” Chuck says. “I had to do it!”
An Olympic Volunteer Experience
Not all Olympic workers are paid for their efforts, but that doesn’t detract from the excitement. Take Chad Weir, an events and logistics manager. His role may be strictly a volunteer position, but the prestige is priceless.
“For three events, I am going to be involved in organizing and preparing the start of the race cross,” Weir says. “I am one of six to eight people who are ensuring that the race goes off, essentially.”
As Chief of Start for ski cross, Weir will need to make sure that the start gage is assembled properly and that the perimeter is up and running. It’s an incredible opportunity, especially since he has been an instructor, coach and volunteer in ski cross and is well acquainted with the people who run the Canadian team. In fact, it was his networking skills that earned him the opportunity to work for the Olympics.
Network + Volunteer = Payoff
It doesn't matter if you're aiming for a temporary opportunity or an Olympic-sized career. Follow these suggestions to discover your own gold medal career opportunity:
• Learn to network. It’s how Weir earned his volunteer role at the games and how you could find your next big thing.
• Let money take a backseat. Getting paid isn’t always the be all and end all of things. If you can afford it, volunteer. You can often score great positions by volunteering your time and that experience can make your resume stand out.
• Be accommodating. Chuck is working fourteen days straight at the Olympics. And he has another job. Sometimes you need to be willing to go the extra mile to score the awesome opportunity.