A VOLUNTEER from Skegness has been at the heart of the Olympics action, giving his time to support an essential aspect of the London 2012 games.
Steve O'Dare acted as an anti-doping chaperone during the event and he will also be helping with preparations ahead of the Paralympics which start later this month.
Steve, who previously worked as practice manager at the Hawthorn Medical Practice, applied to be a Gamesmaker almost two years ago and after attending three selection events was offered a place on the anti-doping team.
After six days of training before the games got under way, he was ready to take his place working in the basketball and hockey arenas.
Steve, 57, said: "I was exceptionally pleased to get the role and it turned out to be a very enjoyable thing to do as well as being a very in-depth role.
"The job entailed receiving the name of a particular athlete that had been randomly selected for a doping test. At the end of the game you have to inform him that he has been selected for a test and then keep him in view and ensure he attends the doping control station as soon as possible and doesn't do anything that's not allowed within the regulations.
"There's a lot of paperwork involved as well which has to be completed absolutely correctly because it forms part of the legal process."
Every team that competed in the games was subject to the same anti-doping process and in most cases, the athletes knew what was expected of them.
Steve said: "They know as soon as you approach them. No-one wants to see you but they all know they must comply because they don't want to get an anti-doping violation.
"That said, they have just played a very intense game, some would have been winning and others losing and they are part of a team so they want to be with their team mates. You have to be exceptionally diplomatic."
Having returned to Skegness for the last week, Steve has now headed back down to London where he will spend the next two weeks on the anti-doping team in the Olympic village as athletes prepare for the Paralympic games. That role is set to provide more of a challenge for the volunteers.
Steve said: "Athletes are randomly tested from when they arrive to when they start their competition. They could be anywhere - training, in their accommodation, warming up or in the centre of London, it's going to be far more difficult to locate the athletes and it will be different because some will have a disability which could add a complexity to what they have got to do. I think the Paraylmpics will be amazing. If you look at what the athletes have had to overcome to get to where they are, I think they gave got the real Olympic spirit."
During his time at the Olympics so far, Steve got to see several games including the Team GB men's hockey and the ladies' basketball. Before finishing at the games for good he is hoping to see inside all the Olympic venues.
The experience has also inspired him to try and carry on the volunteer work once the Games are over and he is hoping to apply to the UK anti-doping unit to volunteer at various events throughout the year.
Steve is happy to give talks on his experience to schools and local community groups. He can be contacted on 01754 765245.