The event, called the London Archery Classic, was a massive success, providing a great chance for us to put all of our hard work thus far into action. And, after those 10 days, we already know we will have something to treasure next summer.
The London Archery Classic team, including volunteers, at Lord's Cricket Ground
So having let the dust settle, I've thought about my top five learnings from the London Prepares series Archery test event.
First of all: learn the venue
I remember my very first tour of Lord's. Even though I did not – and still don’t – know anything about cricket, it was clear that I was entering a ‘temple of sport’, and not simply a stadium. I even had to wear even a tie; to me, ties and sport don’t get along with each other, but this unique dress code helped me understand how prestigious the venue is!
I had to pass on this feeling to my teammates and they too have now realised that having the chance to work in this exclusive venue is a great honour for everyone.
Second lesson learnt: adapt!
Our biggest challenge was understanding how an Archery competition would work at Lord's, being the first sport ever played there except for cricket.
We encountered some difficulties setting the field of play, but the key to success was being flexible and able to maximise our assets.
Third: be part of a team
In staging the test event alongside LOCOG colleagues and a large team of volunteers, I worked with people coming from a wide range of countries.
We were speaking English, French, Italian, Korean, German and Chinese, and worked hard to understand each other – which is essential to work well!
This diversity indicates the level of interest in London 2012 around the world, and how sport can really unite people from all walks of life.
Fourth: provide the best service ever
I want the Archery competition at London 2012 to be unforgettable for everybody who is there – including archers, spectators and the workforce – as well as for the worldwide television audience. To achieve this, we have to deliver a perfect service every single day, being ready to immediately fix any problems that occur along the way.
During one day of the test event, we had an issue with cable connections which briefly affected the electronic delivery of our results. We handled the problem with minimum fuss, and it was actually beneficial in some respects as it'll help us prevent it from happening during the ‘real’ competition next year.
Last but not least: work closely with the volunteers
Most of the volunteers who worked at the London Archery Classic were archers, and showed their passion for this sport through the immense dedication and impressive knowledge. That’s why I took into consideration their suggestions and critical advice.
They all did a great job, mostly because they enjoyed what they were doing. I hope to work closely with them again next summer, and we all agreed that feeling satisfied at the end of the day is the best reward ever.
Now it's time to draw conclusions, to understand what went right – as well as what went wrong – and why. We need to plan everything meticulously to make sure our systems work, and to help us avoid any unexpected issues next summer.
The next task is to get ready for the Paralympic
Archery test event, which takes place in May at The Royal Artillery Barracks. Beyond that, the next 'target' will be London 2012 itself!