Although we are nearing the end of our trip, things have not slowed down whatsoever. We are still hard at work at the European Athletics Championship (EAC). Yesterday, I finished my last day working at AV Feniks. It was a blast meeting 1,500 children and help them participate in athletics events. I must say, I got a good arm workout raking sand for the last three days at the long jump station. Our crew at AV Feniks was very accommodating for us English speaking folk. They did their very best to explain and translate Dutch for us. I couldn't have asked for a better group to work with!
Today was interesting to say the least. I was moved to Olympic Stadium, along with 6 others, to take tickets for the EAC. I was a bit excited because this is what I do for a living. If you do not know me, I have been a ticket taker for the Louisville Bats for 4 years. So with my prior experience and great experience at AV Feniks, I felt confident going into this shift. Quickly, we learned that only being able to speak English made this job much harder. I now realize how much I love talking to spectators as they enter the stadium. Not being able to converse with people made the shift run very slow and I was bored for much of the time. The language barrier was apparent for the first time since we arrived. Some were irritated I didn't speak Dutch and some gave me blank stares when I asked if they spoke English. It was frustrating to feel like I wasn't doing my job up to par. Luckily I wasn't the only one who felt like this, so we all rallied together and persevered through the shift. One thing I did find interesting was how the entrance to Olympic stadium was arranged. Normally the security check is before you scan the tickets, but they had the bag check after spectators entered the gate. They were having people throw away any food or drinks they brought in. If the bag check was before their ticket was scanned, maybe they would have been able to return those items to their car or bike. Another interesting point was they had very little signage in the area. The #1 question I was asked was, "where do I go to buy tickets?" People constantly passed by the ticket office as it was not marked as such. It is such a minor detail but it really can affect the experience people have attending these events. Although today didn't go as smoothly as the last three days, I was an excellent learning experience!
The one huge positive that came out of today’s work shift was being able to visit Olympic Stadium. As someone who is a huge fan of the Olympics, I was extremely excited to visit this national monument. It was built as the main stadium for the 1928 Summer Olympics. Today it is mostly used for football (aka soccer for us Americans), athletics, and music events. It has a capacity of over 22,000, which is the same amount as the KFC Yum! Center.
Now how interesting can a stadium be? Well, there are a ton of interesting facts attributed to the Olympic Stadium! Here are just a few of them:
- The stadium’s design actually won a gold medal too! It took first place in the architecture competition at the 1928 Olympics.
- For the first time ever, women were allowed to compete in Olympic track and field events.
- There were plans in 1987 to demolish the stadium, but it was saved when it was named a national monument.
- It was home to the Amsterdam Admirals in 1995 and 1996. What sport did they play? American Football!
- The Olympic Experience was an exhibition that focused on Dutch Olympic traditions. Sadly, the exhibition closed in 2014.
Our amazing crew at AV Feniks
Olympic Stadium Torch
Sara using Professor Presley to keep warm