Venue managers for the BT London 2012 Delivery Programme take us behind the scenes. This time, Dave Barton talks about his involvement with the London 2012 Opening Ceremonies as the BT Venue Telecoms Manager for the London Olympic Stadium.
London 2012 all started for me on 10 February 2006 in Torino, Italy — the day of the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony. I was working in the International Broadcast Centre, the broadcasting hub for the Olympic Games,
At five that afternoon, the NBC Telecom Director asked if I would like to go and help support the communications technology during the Opening Ceremony. I knew he was just being nice as there wasn’t much for me to do there. Then I started thinking — this is probably one of those moments that if I don’t push through and just do it, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. So I changed my mind.
Now Torino’s Stadio Olympico only holds about 28,000 people. I had nowhere to sit, so I grabbed my radio, tuned into the Technology channel, and sat on a step leading up to the middle concourse of the stadium.
I think back on that day now. It was three of the most amazing hours, impossible to describe. And whenever I think back to that night, I always end up thinking forward to 2012. I’ll be working at the London Olympic Stadium during the 2012 Opening Ceremony, this time as the BT Venue Telecoms Manager.
London is in for something beyond imagining, I promise you that. For a city that loves doing things big and doing them right, it’ll be the biggest celebration this city has ever seen. Any Opening Ceremony is great, but when you have something invested — like your home city or country, or something you’ve put your heart and soul into delivering — it’s that much more special. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to a few ceremonies now, but I have such a vivid picture in my head of what the 2012 Opening Ceremony will be for me.
My vision involves melding the emotions of confidence, fear, excitement and focus…. We have support teams in different critical areas around the stadium and I have a dedicated team supporting approximately 2,200 press and photographers — just in case they have any last minute issues.