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In order for billions of people around the world to be able to watch the moving London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on Friday, thousands of people worked hard behind the scenes at the Olympic Stadium and in various parts of the British capital to ensure that each detail would go as planned. One of these people was Renata Santiago, a Rio 2016™ employee “loaned” to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) as part of a secondment programme.
An employee at the National Olympic Committee (NOC) Relations and Services Department in Brazil, Renata has been working for a month and a half at the NOC Service Centre at the Olympic Village in London. She participated in various parts of preparations for the Opening Ceremony. On the day of the ceremony itself, she was one of the people responsible for removing athletes from the Village, and later she was positioned in the tunnel where delegations entered the stadium.
“They were wonderful days,” says Renata. “The work is hard, the responsibility is enormous, but the pleasure of making the Games happen, of being part of this, overcomes any tiredness. Above all, it makes you feel secure. It shows that, despite the level of complexity, it is possible to do. This experience will be essential to continuing my work at Rio 2016™ after London.”
This is Renata’s third experience of the Olympic Games. She attended the Athens Games in 2004 as an employee of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, while in Beijing in 2008 she was working for the Rio 2016 bid committee. Adding in her work for the Pan American and South American Games, she has been participating in major sports events for 12 years now.
“This work is important, as it can help us to experience challenges very similar to the ones we will have four years from now, in 2016, working directly with the National Olympic Committees and providing all the services that they need. I will use this knowledge to plan and execute functions in my area for the Games,” she says.
Dealing with very different cultures, changing languages in a matter of seconds, understanding and meeting all kinds of requests from delegations – that’s all part of the day-to-day work of Renata’s team. Brazilian cordiality and ease of communication make it easier to get along with people. Renata’s accreditation cord is covered with dozens of pin badges from all parts of the world, showing that making friends is an in-house specialty.
“There’s no shortage of curious and funny stories here. The Games bring people together. These relationships have only good results, today and in future years. I feel moved when I need to get approval from a National Olympic Committee to participate in a private meeting, and not only do they approve, but they are happy about my presence. This is just one example of how my work is gratifying. Despite our differences, we all have the same objectives here,” concludes Renata.