Monday, October 22, 2018

I volunteered for the Olympics and Paralympics in Utah in 2002

How to be a volunteer

Me Oct 31 2018 used my Uniform for my Halloween Costume again

Me October 5, 2018

I volunteered to work at the 2002 Olympics and Paralympics in Utah in 2002. Of all the volunteering jobs I have ever done in my life, this one was the best!

A lot of people who lived in Utah just before and during the time of the Olympics and Paralympics had stated that they were unhappy to have that venue in their backyards. I was really shocked! I kept telling people that if I, for some fantastic reason, could be chosen to be a volunteer I would be the happiest person!

That was an experience they were missing!

My two photo ID's


Photo is my Volunteer ID badge for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City Utah on the right and on the left is the same for the Paralympics. There are of the pins I got for extra service rewards.
All the photos on this blog post are mine, except where a link is provided to show credit. 

2002 Olympics and Paralympics

I am legally blind. I have vision in my right eye that gets me around good enough.  I can do a lot of things. When it comes to print that is where I have an issue. Thank goodness they had computers that I could enlarge the font so I could see what I was doing.  The rest was easy to do and did not tax my vision. 

The job for both venues was the same just different color uniforms were used. For the Olympics my uniform was green as you can see in all the photos. My uniform for the Paralympics was the pretty blue color you can see in one of the photos where I am modeling all the colors of the uniforms.  I worked about 10 days for the Olympics and about the same for the Paralympics.

Uniform colors, Red, Blue, Yellow and Green

This is what my Green Olympic Volunteer Jacket looks like, as I sold mine.

Photo credit

The rewards were awesome compared to my time and cost. My cost was the funds I spent for transportation to and from the jobs plus the interviews. I was not employed at the time so I had the time off from my regular job. I would never change my mind if I had to decide all over again. I was rewarded over and over again.


Seiko Olympic watch and Brass Award Front and Back

I did not expect so many awards and rewards. There is even more than I have posted here.  I kept parts of the uniforms and gave some away an sold the Green Olympic jacket as shown above. When I got my next job at Marriott a woman saw my jacket one day as asked me about the jobs. I told her I like the blue jacket color better than the green. On a whim she asked me if I would consider selling it. So I thought about it and told her yes. She gave me more than I expected for it.

Get your photo ID - start here

The start of the "Processing center"

Here is a fellow volunteer whom I worked with on several shifts. She and I were at this station which the volunteer signs in and gets their photo taken for their ID security badge. It has a barcode on the tag in which you use to go through all the stations to get your equipment and uniforms, Crosspack bag, and other volunteer job necessities. One has to wear the ID tag at all times and has to scan it in at all venues to get credit for your hours and rewards. Every level of achievement you got a pin or some other reward. Major rewards and awards shown below.

Check in Station me and fellow volunteer

Training for volunteering

Two weeks before the Processing Center opened its' doors, the Volunteers came in to get their ID’s and training supplies. This was a training meeting for those of us who were going to work at the “Processing Center.”

     UTAH Paratransit Transportation for myself to each day of the job

There were many lessons to learn. There are protocols that one must follow when you are assisting persons' from other countries and cultures. There are lessons on how to do a specific job mostly related to equipment. We needed to set up a schedule of work hours. They had a minimum of hours they wanted you to work per week. I was free to work any time during the day or when the Paratransit bus cold take me. I could walk around the Processing Center and then I could sit down a lot for most of the jobs.  I used my power wheelchair to travel to the Volunteer jobs and a year later at the wall of honor ceremony. 

                       Me in my power wheelchair in 2007 
   My Jazzy Power wheelchair provided to me by the State of Utah

I worked almost every day for at least 4 hours. Every level of hours volunteering you did you were eligible for rewards. See rewards below. Since I worked the maximum required and went beyond that, I got many extra rewards!

                      Me and fellow volunteer at the sign in area
I had been chosen to work at the Processing Center because I had work history in Human Resources, Volunteer jobs, and computers. After the general training meetings I had some specialized training centered around the computer software I would need to know for that part of the Processing Center.

                               Me in the Lunchroom

During the actual job, after the volunteer gets their photo ID taken then they come to the computer station. They already have their paperwork on their volunteer assignment and work schedule with which venue the would serve. I checked them in first by scanning their Photo ID. In training I had a very difficult time at first with the computer software program as it was small print. Later I was able to enlarge the screen area so I could work better and faster. 

So I had to be very close to the screen until knew the program in side and out. That took me a day to learn that computer program. After I knew what to expect I did not need to get close to read the print any more as I knew what the questions were and could key in the answers as needed.  I could tab from area to area for each question to be answered. The end result would be in a sector that I could read in larger print. A lot of memorization goes into the job for those of us who are visually impaired. 

            Check in Station where I processed the volunteers
Check in station
At this station the volunteer has gotten their Kodak photo taken and ID made. They are now ready to get their uniforms made by King/Marker Incorporated©. But first they have to get by the check in personnel. On the Gateway computer their ID is scanned in to the database. Each person has already been chosen and assigned a venue to work at for the Olympics or Paralympics. I volunteered for both. I worked at the Processing center in Human Resources.

After the person is checked in they are given a page with a print out of what color uniforms they need.
The Jackets and sleeveless vest were a color. The ski/snow pants, turtleneck were black, as well as the gloves, headbands and hats. There even was a backpack and a cross pack purse depending upon your desires.

I got a cross pack for the Olympics and a Backpack for the Paralympics. They all had the Marker logo on them and the logo for either the Olympics or Paralympics.

Basically each volunteer got a code that allowed the volunteers working a the Processing Center who were handing out supplies knew what color uniform they needed and or supplies. 
There was only one mix up in the uniforms that we had. That was for the security Volunteers who had assignments like the Stadium and other areas where they needed to be outside long periods of time.
They were given a 3/4 length Down Jacket that was made to handle even colder temps than the normal Down standard length jackets.
So it was basically a programming error. So unfortunately those Stadium volunteers had to come back in and exchange their Jackets. That was the only error that I could see that happened while I was a volunteer at the Processing Center except for the extra Crisps snack foods ordered. More about that later. 

Me and a new Volunteer 
The area where you get your uniforms and other goodies

Order of Service:
As mentioned, after two weeks of handing out the wrong green jackets for some of the security personnel, they caught the error and fixed the computer program. All was back on track. Uniforms were handed out according to the jobs that would start first.

Those of us who were working at the Processing Center and Security were coming in first to get our uniforms two weeks before the athletes arrived. After that, the remainder of the volunteers were given a time zone to come in and get their uniforms and gear.
Some volunteers came in at the midpoint of the actual Olympics and Paralympics as their shifts did not start until the last few days.

*Red uniforms were Medical personnel for both the Olympics and Paralympics.
*Green uniforms for fields of play, doping, and general services for the Olympics
*Blue uniforms for the fields of play, doping, and general services for the Paralympics.
*Yellow uniforms were for event services volunteer for both the Olympics and Paralympics

Photo credit

Before you got your uniform - try on station
As one who lived in winter states knows you need to get a size or two larger for your coat. So you could come in and try on sizes and look and see how you felt in any size. 

They liked to have them try on as they did not like exchanges. There were only so many uniforms in certain sizes as like at a regular clothing store. They mostly liked to try on the ski pants and the jackets. Privacy was assured in booths.

Me and another volunteer with the flag we designed and I sewed
This was our flag for the Processing Center where I had all my volunteer jobs

 My crosspack 2018 - I had to add a new zipper

The rest of the Marker/King© uniforms and cross pack purse and Backpacks were black with either the Olympic logo or the Paralympic logos. You could choose either the crosspack/purse or backpack. Those whose jobs were outdoors got a larger backpack.
Beanie winter Hat, Headband to cover ears, thinner inner gloves and thick waterproof Gore-tex outer gloves, turtleneck of thick cotton short fleece, vest of fleece, snow pants that were rubberized and waterproof. We had to supply our own winter shoes or boots and wool socks. So now I just have the Paralympic Blue Jacket, the Paralympic Blue vest and the Olympic Green vest for the clothing.  And of course, the other items I have photographed here. 

 Bottom layer is a long sleeve turtleneck shirt with a small zipper at the neck area - Me handing out the Volunteer Manual and etra supplies

The extra supplies consisted of hats, headbands, gloves, glove liners, a Manual about each venue, a calendar, and sponsored gift bag with beauty supplies by Nu Skin©. 

Check out station one
We scanned all the items that each volunteer gets and they get credited to their account.

This all serves several purposes. One inventory control so they know if they are running out of supplies, making sure no one gets two of some item they should only have one of each item depending upon the venue they will be volunteering. 

Check out station two
We pack each person's uniforms and items that have been scanned in the huge heavy bags. All items are for the volunteers to keep. One of the major perks of Volunteering!

I met so many people from so many countries! There were many volunteers who were athletes as well. One Woman who was in the Biathlon which is cross country skiing and shooting a special rifle told me she is the person in the photo on the Biathlon page of the Volunteer Manual! So she signed my own Volunteer Manual for me. 

Me and fellow volunteer at the area where all your uniform and items were checked out and packed in a special carry out bag.

Special rewards:
At the end of the Olympics the Processing Center closed down for a few days to restock for the Paralympics. Again, I came down for a brief training as I already knew what to do.

My last day of Volunteering was the day of the actual opening ceremonies for the Paralympics in February 2002! What a great gift that was as well! That afternoon those of us Volunteers who were going met at a certain place near the stadium so we could all sit together. 

The volunteer scans my brain to see if it will register on the computer for sale! LOL!!!

Then we got on a big bus and driven up to Rice-Eccles Stadium. The same thing to exit. This saved traffic problems around the stadium and with parking. I got to attend a full dress rehearsal for the Olympics closing ceremony as well. They even tested fireworks in the afternoon! What a thrill that was to view it all from the nosebleed seats. I could see fine with a great close view of the jumbotron screen! I sure enjoyed both the ceremonies.

Rice Eccles Stadium

The Fire Cauldron 
Both photos from:

Volunteer Party:
At the end of the Olympics and Paralympics there was a party for all the volunteers. They had a concert for us downtown and the headline band was KC and the Sunshine band. It was a lot of fun. Because I was in a wheelchair they allowed me to go to the front of the stage.
The Volunteer Party was held at the 2002 Olympic Medal Plaza as shown here

Photo credit:

I was right in front of the stage for the Volunteers Party!
Of course there is the fence and the pit in front of the stage. While the concert was going on Steve Young, football hero, who had a large part of the volunteers. He walked around thanking everyone for their volunteer time. He came over to me and shook my hand and thanked me for my time.
He had heard that I had worked both the Olympics and Paralympics. What a nice compliment he gave to me. He signed my personal worker’s handbook. I had so much fun the entire month, more than I could have ever imagined!

The Olympic Plaza which is now a Shopping Mall


Wall of Honor:
My biggest thrill was a year later, 2003 when I got to meet and stand with Apolo Ohno on the wall of honor for the unveiling of the wall.  My name is on that wall!

I used the cross pack for so many years I had to replace the zipper. I still have the cross pack. Photo taken in 2011

They provided catered lunches for us the first week then heat and eat or other food snacks the other weeks. 

Lunch time

The first two weeks we were rewarded with catered lunches. After that it was a bag lunch that you could choose any item you wanted. There were microwaves to heat up Campbell’s soups and stews. There were cold foods in the fridge. Fruit and protein bars as well as snacks and beverages, All you wanted any time.

Breaks were a bit tricky. You got an automatic break when it was busy. Later on when the crowds died down you could take a longer break. Some of the companies who provided the snacks and foods were: Diamond of California: nuts, Kellogg company, the Coca Cola company, and McDonald’s.

Me pretending to be an Olympic Skater Apolo Ohno!

Photo Credit of Apolo Ohno:

Break time

I was goofing off pretending I was doing what they were doing in the photo on the wall behind me. Although I did get to meet Apolo Ohno in person at the Wall of the Olympic Volunteers in 2003. I was chosen to stand on top of the wall to let down the curtain! What fun that was! I got a Roots beret Hat for the deal and some roots Olympic socks. Link for that page at the bottom of this post.

Official Logo for the 2002 Paralympics
I found this photo at the website listed in links

photo credit:

Reward One

Olympic volunteer - brass award front

First reward was this handsome brass award. Made by local Jeweler OC Tanner. This is the front side.

Reward One and two

Olympic Volunteer- brass award back and Seiko watch

Here is the back side of the brass award. Reward two was this Seiko watch. I got the women’s here for myself and a larger men’s size when I finished volunteering for the Paralympics. For the Paralympics we were also given the same Seiko watch. I was allowed to get a Man's size watch and gave it to my husband. 

Reward 3

Olympic volunteer - Wallet

This award number three is a handsome leather wallet. It is in great shape for 16 years old! It was made by Carriage House.

Reward 4 - part 1

Olympic and Paralympic Volunteer front of reward

The round Paralympic reward on the left is made from pewter. It is really heavy. This is the front side of the award. The Bass rectangle reward is for the Olympics.  Both are designed by local jeweler O C Tanner.

Reward 4 - part 2

Olympic and Paralympic volunteer awards back

Here is the back of the pewter Paralympic and the Brass Olympic awards.

This is the bag that was for the Opening Ceremony for the Paralympics which we got to attend

Reward 5

Olympic Opening Ceremony rehearsal reward seat

This is a bag that came with a flashlight, chemical hand warmers, snacks, plastic raincoat, disposable Kodak film camera, a seat cushion, and water. We got to go to the full dress rehearsal for the closing ceremony 24 Feb 2002!


The closing ceremony rehearsal was held the day time so the fireworks were not as spectacular. I was in the nosebleed seats of Rice Eccles Stadium. It was a balmy 20 degrees outside. My feet were frozen, but the rest of me was OK. I had to go to the first aid station to get some more hand warmers for my feet. The ski pants and everything else was perfect.

I even had a fleece blanket over the top of me. It was the next best thing to seeing the actual closing. It had some breaks in time the rehearsal so that was pretty much the only difference aside from the fire works.

Reward 6

Opening Ceremony Paralympics reward seats

The Opening ceremony of the Paralympics was the last activity I got to go to. It was March 7, 2002 at Rice Eccles Stadium. I was awarded two tickets for myself and my husband. We got to sit really close to the bottom of the stadium with a wheelchair ramp near us. I had to use my manual wheelchair and they stored it by me.  My husband pushed my wheelchair to navigate me.

I had an awesome view when anyone went by. Of course on the jumbotron screen I could see quite a lot! The bag had the same items in it as reward #5.  We both got one.

Reward 7+
When all was said and done on the last day of volunteering at both the Olympics and Paralympics, we all were allowed to take home a lot of the leftovers. Someone added a 'zero' to the crisps order for the volunteers so they had 20,000 cases of crisps. We got to take home 3 cases.

Needless to say we had treats for a few months! As I mentioned I send out other things like the bag shown in the photo, flashlights, Kodak film, batteries and lanyards to the grandkids, family and friends. Everyone was well rewarded.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~2003Downtown Salt LakeOlympic Plaza
Full story on my blog here:

The Teacup ladies sing

The crowd of Volunteers and attendees

Getting ready to unveil the Wall of Honor
all the names of the Volunteers

I am up there getting ready to help Unveil the Wall

Me in the middle helping to unveil the wall!

Part of the Wall

In front of the wall several of the volunteers were photographed
That's me in the Roots hat. I was in my wheelchair.

Here is what the whole area looks like from further back
at the Olympic Legacy Plaza

Agustin Martinez photos - I lost the link to these photos. 

Photo credit:

2012 Ten years later:
Mitt Romney and wife Ann in 2012

Links for Olympics 2002

The official 2002 Olympic Two hour history film by Bud Greenspan.   

SALT LAKE CITY 2002 Olympics
SALT LAKE CITY 2002 Olympics
2002 Winter Olympics Overview
2002 Winter Olympics Overview
Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games
Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games
The International Paralympic Committee

Official Website of the Paralympic Movement 
The International Paralympic Committee

Paralympics 2002, part 1 Xavier Gonzalez
Xavier Gonzalez, a veteran of three Paralympic Summer games, is the Managing Director of the Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Winter Games.
O.C. Tanner Official Jewelers for the 2002 Olympics
O.C. Tanner NFL star Steve Young's foundation, Forever Young
Utah Historical Museum
History and memorabilia of the 2002 Olympics and Paralympics