Volunteer fulfils Rio dream

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Justin FrisGeraldton Guardian
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Equine enthusiast Penny Dodd has recently returned to Geraldton after volunteering at the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

Having previously volunteered at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France, Ms Dodd was keen to further her involvement in top-level events.

“The whole application process (for volunteering in Rio) commenced in August of 2014 just after I returned from Normandy,” she said. “It was 12 months later in August of 2015, that I was advised of details of my first online interview, which turned out to be almost a non-event due to poor internet connections.

“After numerous emails backwards and forwards with the volunteer co-ordinators, I finally received news in November 2015, that I had been allocated a position with the National Organising Committee Relations and Services Department.”

Because of work and local judging commitments in Geraldton, Ms Dodd arrived in Rio at the beginning of August and has fond memories of her Rio experience.

“I was excited and disappointed at this offer as it was going to be an interesting position, but I was required to be in Rio by mid-June, which with my work and equestrian officiating commitments here in Geraldton, it was going to be impossible for me to fulfil the date requirement,” she said.

“I was also hoping that I would be offered a position directly linked to the equestrian sports. Again, after further emails and a much more satisfactory online interview, I was appointed to a position as a member of the equestrian volunteer team.

“I arrived in Rio at the beginning of August and my work roster started the day before the Opening Ceremony and finished on the last day of equestrian competition, the day before the closing cere-mony.

“It was a 16-day roster with only three days off.

“During this time, I was privileged to see most of the world’s best horses and riders behind the scenes in training and warm-up situations, as well as in the main competition arena.”

Since her return to Geraldton, Ms Dodd has returned to her judging duties, attending several events across the State.

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