Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Amazing who you meet at the Olympics in ministry
By David Smethurst with the Press Service International Media Team, London 2012 Olympics
Special to ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS) -- One day after parking the car in the Olympic hub area I was passing through the security check and saw just ahead of me, John Eales (the Australian Rugby captain) and Mark Waugh (the Australian Cricket captain).
They both replied that they knew him well. John Eales asked what I was doing at the Games and then what I did in life. I told him that from our charity we supported many orphans in Eastern Europe, especially in the Chernobyl radiation zone of Southern Belarus. He was amazed and wished me well in such a good work.
Speaking Russian has its advantages
One very hectic day I had to collect a group of Belarusian Journalists from Gatwick Airport. They were a cheerful bunch chattering away like men do in the back of the Citroen C4.
When we arrived at the Olympic Village security check manned by the military, the journalists went very quiet and looked apprehensive at the sight of the uniforms.
I was honoured to attend the rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony two days before the great event. This had to be familiarise ourselves with the line-up and timing of the entrance of 204 teams into the Olympic Stadium.
On this night we entered the Stadium as if we were athletes, although there was not much crowd in the stands. All the dancers and drummers were in place to greet us. It was awesome. The only other time I have done this in entering the Sydney Olympic Stadium for the 2009 World Masters Games where I competed as a swimmer.
Then the night arrived for the grand Opening Ceremony. Our team was responsible for getting the Belarus Olympic team into place to march to the Stadium. The atmosphere was electric with excitement as we marched the kilometre to the stadium.
After we delivered the Belarus team to the Stadium officials we were free to walk back to the Village and admire the other nations’ teams.
Meeting Usain Bolt at the Jamaican Team line up was a wonderful experience. Everyone was clamouring for a photo with the great man. All I did was squeeze through the crowed, shake his hand and say, “God bless you for your events.” He looked very surprised and thanked me, as if no one had thought to say that to him.
Catching a glimpse of Maria Sharapova with the Russian team was amazing. She is a very cheerful, personable and compassionate person off the court. I had the privilege to meet her tennis sparring partner Vladimir at Gatwick Airport last week.
Edited by Press Service International - Mark Tronson (www.pressserviceinternational.org)
Reverend Dr. David Smethurst is a credentialed Minister with the AOG in Australia who developed "Smethurst Ministries" in 1988 with an evangelism ministry along with 47 orphanages across Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Raised in South Africa, he speaks six languages including Zulu and Russian and is based in Brisbane Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
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