An incredible amount of hard work goes into preparing for an Olympic Games – and it’s not just the athletes who put in the long, weary hours.
The Olympic team behind the five Cayman Islands athletes at the London Games has toiled tirelessly since the Beijing Games four years ago. Chef de mission in China was Lori Powell and she was asked back by Olympic Committee president Donald McLean, general-secretary Carson Ebanks and treasurer Bernie Bush who approved that Powell stepped in again for the London trip. She is also the Olympic Committee vice-president so appreciates every aspect of the job.
Fatigued after another morning of meetings and sorting things out for the athletes and rest of the Cayman contingent, Powell is nevertheless her usual bubbly self, fortified by coffee.
Preparations are dovetailing nicely for the spectacular opening ceremony on Friday, designed by the celebrated Danny Boyle. Over three billion will be watching on TV and the net, nearly half the world’s population.
“I’m very happy to be in London, the vibe is amazing in the village,” said Powell. “The accommodations are nice. They are brand new apartment accommodations set up and ready for the athletes.
“The village is beautiful, there is every kind of recreational facility, a huge food hall with every conceivable type of food, shops, beauty palours, souvenir shops, internet areas…pretty much everything you can think of so they should be very comfortable.
“We’re leading up now to the opening ceremony. The swimmers have arrived from training camp in Dublin and the athletes, Ronald and Kemar, have arrived from their training camp in Surrey. They spent two weeks in London to get acclimatised.
“We’re all very excited. There is nothing like the atmosphere at an opening ceremony with all the countries there. The vibe is fantastic. The feeling when you come out from the tunnel and walk out to the track is awesome. There is immense pride. The flag bearer is Brett Fraser. This is his second Olympics and we’re very pleased to have him. It should be electric.”
The show is guaranteed to be another spectacle and maintain Olympic traditions. This time the theme is London’s developing culture over the centuries.
“I don’t know much about the show, they’ve been very secretive, but I understand it is the history of London from early days to present,” added Powell. “Danny Boyle is a brilliant director who did Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting.
“I think it will be very different to Beijing but equally as good in a different way. I think Beijing was amazing with its huge numbers and drums but this will be a real show and I’m very excited.”