Volunteers are the people who make the Games happen, supporting every athlete, spectator and visitor for the most amazing sporting event in the world. A part of the success of the Olympic Games belongs to each one of the 34,548 volunteers at the Barcelona Olympic Games, the 60,422 volunteers of Atlanta and the 47,000 volunteers of the Sydney Games.
In 2004 the Olympic Games returned to Greece, the country where they were born, and to Athens, the city of their revival in 1986. It was a unique opportunity for all who were there to experience the magical atmosphere of this Olympic homecoming and take part in the greatest celebration of humanity.
There were four periods when volunteers were invited to offer their services:
- during the Sport Events, which were organised in order to test the facilities and all
operations before the Games: 2003 - 2004;
- during the preparation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games: May 2004 - August 2004;
- during the Olympic Games: 13-29 August 2004;
- during the Paralympic Games: 17-28 September 2004.
The period for volunteering depended on the area that he/she will choose to offer his/her services. Volunteer involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic Games usually lasted between 7 and 10 days.
The submission of the volunteering application form was followed by other three stages: a personal interview, a training period and the participation. Finally, the volunteers received
their accreditation, uniform and any necessary equipment.
Volunteers must be 18 by 31st of December 2004 the latest and were involved in a variety of areas of Olympic activity, such as sports, medical/health services, technology, environment, ceremonies, spectator services, administration, hospitality/tourism, Olympic and Paralympic Family transportation etc. Volunteers were needed for Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well.
60,000 volunteers, from 188 countries, were trained for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004. Without them, the Olympic Games, as we know them today, would not exist. The volunteers, of all ages, cultures and backgrounds, shared the same passion for sport and the Olympic Ideal. Together with the athletes, they were the people who best impersonate Olympism. Of the applicants, 65% were Greek, with the United States (6.3%t), Spain (4.4%) and Germany (3,3%) following as the top three foreign countries with volunteer candidates.Also, 41% percent were between the ages of 18 and 24, 35% between 25 and 34, and 11% between 35 and 44.
In Athens, the volunteers worked at venues maintenance, events supervision, hospitality and visitors and athletes orientation, transportation, logistics etc. Anyone proved invaluable from offering welcome at airports and train stations, to security at venues, in catering, administration, ticketing and transport for athletes and officials.
Team effort and enthusiasm made the Athens 2004 Olympic