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The Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games Volunteer Program

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David Brettell was the Manager of Venue Staffing and Volunteers for the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games ('SOCOG"). This article includes excerpts from keynote speeches David Brettell gave at three volunteerism conferences in July and August 2001, in Singapore and in Adelaide and Fremantle in Australia.

Excerpts from Speech:

You have, I'm sure, heard the expression "from dreams come realities." Sydney has just been through the dream and the experience of its life, as have all the citizens of my country. A slightly cynical Australia went "soft" in September 2000 and embraced the Olympics and Paralympics with exactly what they needed: PASSION. We were genuinely "touched" by the Games and what they represent. Our CEO says it much better than I. He says that Sydney and Australia "brushed the sky" for that short period in September last year.

Volunteers from all round Australia and some from overseas as well were amazingly supportive of the Games. The Sydney Games saw the largest gathering of volunteers at one time, in one place, in Australia's post-war history: 62,000 volunteers (47,000 for the Olympics and 15,000 for the Paralympics) gave their time, skills, enthusiasm, warmth, and never forgetting their passion, to make the Games a great success. They received lots of acknowledgment and recognition but nothing matched what was given to them at the Closing Ceremony of the Games. On the 1st of October, 2000, Mr. Samaranch (CEO) awarded them the ultimate recognition, calling them "the most dedicated and wonderful Games volunteers ever."