By Cameron Sawyer
Thousands of Utahns will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with history by participating as volunteers for the 2002 winter Olympics.
Rich Cannaday, staffing coordinator for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, said the SLOC needs 26,000 people to volunteer: 20,000 people for the winter Olympics, and six thousand people for the winter Paralympics.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” Cannaday said. “Very rarely does a city host the Olympics twice in a person’s lifetime.”
He said those interested can register to volunteer online, or can call SLOC and request to have an application mailed to them.
“We will be accepting applications up until the games, but I would suggest people sign up now to get involved,” Cannaday said.
He said not everyone who signs up to volunteer will be selected. Pre-game test events and background checks will help the committee to select volunteers.
Cannaday said that even though volunteers will not be paid, there are benefits to signing up.
“We will give each volunteer a $1,000 dollar uniform made by marker; Hat, boots, gloves — things of that nature,” he said.
He also said the volunteers will be able to attend an opening ceremonies dress rehearsal.
There will also be an opportunity for many volunteers to witness an up-close view of many of the athletes and the events.
Additionally, all volunteers will have their names engraved in stone on the Legacy Wall which will be built downtown in the Olympic Gateway Plaza.
Kathy Giles, a BYU graduate and resident of Provo, has already signed up to volunteer.
“The tickets are so expensive,” Giles said. “This way I can go to more events and not pay.”
Giles said so far she has attended a seminar on volunteering, and she plans on attending six pre-Olympic test events.
If the Committee selects Giles, she said she would be working in doping control as an escort to top Olympic finishers in various events.
“I will have to stay with the athlete until they report to the drug clinic,” she said. “They asked us not to ask for autographs.”
Jessica Jones, a senior from Franklin, N.C., majoring in math, is an employee in SLOC’s staffing department.
Jones said volunteering for the Olympics gives BYU students a great opportunity for hands-on experience.
“I think it is an incredible thing to put on a resume,” Jones said. “I have friends that volunteered for the Atlanta games and it helped them to get jobs.”
Jones said she knows many students at BYU that have already volunteered for the Olympics.
“Over half my ward has signed up to volunteer,” she said.
Rich Cannaday said people who sign up to volunteer and are not selected will have opportunities to find part time employment with companies coming to Utah for the games.
He also said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will need volunteers during the Olympics.