From Athens 2004 to Sochi 2014: volunteers from a decade of Olympic and Paralympic Games tell their stories

Video recounts experiences of those who gave their free time to help stage the biggest sporting events in the world

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People of all ages and from all over the world have played their part in staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games
People of all ages and from all over the world have played their part in staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games

While athletes at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games were busy producing great sporting performances, a 50-year-old Russian volunteer was busy being a star of the event in his own way. With kindness and determination at every step, Vadim Pushkarev helped patients at the medical facility in the Athletes’ Village. He did a bit of everything: helped fill out forms, acted as an interpreter, gave directions and generally welcomed and looked after patients who needed medical care. What few knew is that Pushkarev is actually an experienced anaesthetist who chose to spend his holidays as a volunteer.

“What interested me the most was the possibility of communicating with different types of patients – we had athletes, coaches and employees. I was sharing space with people of all ages and many different nationalities: Russians, Venezuelans and Japanese. The most important quality that a volunteer can have, in my opinion, is love. Without love it is impossible to help people in a meaningful way,” said the Russian doctor, who plans to volunteer at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, along with his family.

Pushkarev is just one of thousands of people who have been touched by the experience of volunteering at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the video below, volunteers from different editions of the Games tell their stories:

In order to stage the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, about 70,000 volunteers will be recruited. To participate you will need to be at least 18 years old in May 2016, have completed middle/secondary school and be available for the selection and training processes, as well as during the Games. Registration opens on 28 August 2014. Keep up to date with all the latest news on the Rio 2016 Volunteers Programme page.

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