Taking part in the Olympics is a dream for many, but before you look at becoming a volunteer for the US Olympic Committee (USOC), there are some things you need to consider. Each country is responsible for finding its own helpers, so the USOC only uses unpaid helpers when the events take place in the United States. The process of applying to be one of these helpers is fairly standard across all countries, and you can get some helpful information now before the next games to take place in America.
Ways to Take Part
Those volunteering during the Olympics take on a number of different roles. A large number of helpers are involved with the opening ceremonies, but many of those helpers are dancers, actors, gymnasts or have some public speaking experience. If you speak two or more languages, you can work as a communications specialist or interpreter to help athletes, and if you have a valid license and a clean driving record, you might work in transportation. Other opportunities include working in press relations, health services, technology or sports.
Requirements for Participants
The Olympic Committee in Brazil requires that everyone applying for a volunteer position have experience speaking the native language. The requirements for working with the US Olympic Committee are quite similar. You must speak English as your primary language, have strong reading and writing skills and have a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. All applicants must also show proof that they are 18 years old or older and have the ability to work during the games. You will also need to go through several training sessions that may require you move to the city where the Olympics take place to complete your training.
How it Works
According to the Brazilian Olympic Committee, the process of volunteering starts with an online registration. Applicants will know several months prior to the start of the games if they can take part or if they are on the wait list. All applicants will then go through a short training session that tells them what they will do on the job and what the committee expects of them. You will also go through a short training program and an interview before you receive your official acceptance letter. Those accepted must complete multiple training sessions online and in person before the Olympics begin.
Things to Think About
Though working for the US committee or the committee in any other country might seem like a dream, there are some things you must consider before you become a volunteer. The first is that you are responsible for your own housing and food, which can be quite expensive. Though the athletes receive free housing, volunteers must find a place to stay during both their training and during the Games. You should also keep in mind that volunteering may take you away from home for several months. Unless you have a large amount in your savings, you may find that you cannot afford to help.
Volunteering lets you see all the excitement and glamour of the Olympics up close and personal. Each country uses the same method to recruit helpers with transportation, health and other needs. If you can afford the time and commitment to volunteer with the US Olympic Committee, you will have exceptional experience that you can apply in a future sports management career.
Related Resource: How do I Get an Internship with the International Olympic Committee?