Cassie James was a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics, along with her partner Simon, a Partner at Fyrnwy Equine Clinic. She tells H&C about their experience.
"It's hard to believe that it was two years ago that we applied to work as part of the London 2012 Veterinary Team, but from the moment we saw the advert we knew it was an amazing opportunity we couldn't miss out on.
After submitting our applications, we waited for what seemed like ages before getting the exciting news that we had interviews. The interviews were held at the London Excell, and consisted of a group talk and then one-to-one chats. It was exciting to see other Games Makers already in their roles at the interviews, and to see some of the plans for the Games and the Olympic village.
A short wait and then the good news came - we'd been accepted! I was offered the position of Vet Technician and my partner Simon was going to be a Vet Field Team Member. With so many applications we never imagined even one of us would get it, so we were very shocked we both had offers.
Next was the introduction event at Wembley Arena, where along with thousands of other accepted Games Makers we were shown exactly what we were in for and what was expected of us, through videos and celebrity guests. It was quite a show and we left buzzing.
Then we were invited to our role specific training at Hackney College in London. This was the first opportunity we had to meet the other vets and techs. After this we had our venue specific training at Greenwich Park, and it was at this point that reality set in... We were going to be part of London 2012 and we were helping to make it happen!
With accommodation booked, we headed off to Greenwich apprehensive and excited. The first shift was cross-country training day, where we were able to familiarise ourselves with procedures and roles and again to meet the rest of the team. Over the next few days, Simon was extremely fortunate to have shifts based in the arena so got to watch the likes of William Fox-Pitt during dressage.
Cross-country day came quickly. Simon was based in cross-country warm up areas, while I was on fence 12 - the chess fence. Each vet was supported by a technician in the arenas and on the course. Every fence had a vet, tech, doctor and three fence judges, and there were also clinic based vets and techs.
Cross-country day was quite possibly the best day at work we have both ever had, it's so hard to describe the experience but I'm sure you have already heard the riders describe the roar of cheers that followed each combination around. After that we had a variety of shifts throughout the equestrian events, and returned again for the modern pentathalon. This time I had night shifts - the vet clinic was staffed 24/7 with a vet and technician as well as other vets being on call.
To top off our fantastic experience on our last day we were able to watch the modern pentathlon showjumping. Being part of the Games was something neither of us will ever forget. We have both previously given up many weekends working at horse trials in order to build up our experiences and it was most definitely worth it and this is something we will continue to do.
We are both proud to have been part of what really was a fantastic show put on by our country and to see our best equestrians at the top of their game. It really was a truly unforgettable experience to be there and even better because of the fantastic results from the British teams. We are both now looking forward to Rio 2016 which we hope to be a part of, even if it’s just for a holiday…."