After a week here in Amsterdam, we have enjoyed the full experience from museums to shopping and roaming around the city. Today was our last day of being tourists before our work begins with the European Athletics Championships. To kick off our time as volunteers for the event, we had the opportunity to attend the opening ceremonies where teams from 50 countries were represented and celebrated in a procession of flags and athletes. There were also representatives from European Athletics who gave some encouraging words before the official flag rose and the games were declared open!
Following our time at the opening ceremonies, we had our first official taste of what we will be doing the rest of our time here in Amsterdam. We attended training for our volunteer duties where we met other volunteers from all over who we will be working with, as well as our supervisors for each of our work sites. All of us will be scattered around the city working various side events coinciding with the events held in the main stadium. Tomorrow, most of us will be working school championships where we will work with local children who will be competing in their own events. There will be relays and throwing events as well as some other individual running events, which we will supervise and judge. While all of this is going on, professional athletes from all over Europe will be competing for their countries in track and field events.
One of those events is pole vaulting. If you've read any of the previous blogs, you probably read a little something about canal vaulting, which is similar to pole vaulting with a slightly different objective. In canal vaulting we did our best to get ourselves over a canal of water, while in pole vaulting, athletes vault over a bar set at various heights. Vaulters run down a runway on the track and jam the pole into box in order to propel themselves over the 4.5m long bar. Each competitor gets three attempts at the height and if it is successfully cleared, they can move on to the next height. The athlete with the highest vault wins (iaaf,.org 2016). I am personally looking forward to watching Renaud Lavillnie of France defend his last three gold medals in this event. He is the reigning European Athletics champion as well as the reigning Olympic champion so it will be cool to watch him go for the gold again!(europeanathletics.org, 2014). I a also looking forward to my volunteer experiences the rest of this week and to more fun days here in Amsterdam!