Rotary International District 1100
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End Polio Now
Rotarian Mike Cooper, pictured below with Haile Gebraselassie, was a volunteer at the 1996 Atlanta Centenary Olympic Games and has written a book about his experiences at that event. The book is available from Waterstones or Amazon at £7.99 but is available direct from Mike at £6 plus post and packing (see below). Note that 50% of the proceeds of the book go to END POLIO NOW.
More than 70,000 volunteers will be required for the London Olympics. My purpose in writing this book is to describe my experience as a volunteer in the 1996 Atlanta Centenary Olympic Games. Those three weeks were the most thrilling and exciting days of my life. To be part of the 'Greatest Show on Earth' was a wonderful privilege.
My role was described as 'stadium management', which actually meant being an usher in the Olympic Stadium. I was able to watch the opening ceremony and all the athletics events finals. On the days when there were no events in the stadium there was an opportunity to go to other sports competitions; swimming, cycling, tennis, hockey, judo, water polo and others. I kept a diary at the time and have written a 30,000 word book about life as an Olympic volunteer. There are also about forty photos taken which show some of the activities 'behind the scenes'
As a side-line I had some articles published in the Bristol Evening Post about the performance of local competitors. I have written about conversations I had with athletes' coaches, families and past Olympians. The book should have particular appeal to potential 2012 London Games volunteers and anyone with an interest in the Olympic Games.
Biography of author Mike Cooper
Mike Cooper was with IBM for 27 years, retiring in the early nineties. As a major sponsor for the 1996 Olympic Games, the company invited retirees to become volunteers, and Mike took advantage of this to go to Atlanta.
He has always had a passion for sport, and has run in the New York and London marathons. He is an enthusiastic cyclist, completing the Land's End to John O'Groats ride at the age of 71, raising over £7000 for charity. He has also cycled the length of the South Island New Zealand, and toured in Japan. He has frequently talked about these subjects as an after-dinner speaker.
At the age of 68 he became a full-time student, and obtained a BSc in geology at Gloucestershire University, and then moved on to Bristol University to do an MSc.
Mike trained as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and spent 10 years teaching foreign business executives 'Business English'. In addition to instructing on residential courses in the UK, he taught in Germany, Italy, France, Hungary and Poland.
For the past three years he has presented a weekly one-hour radio programme on local radio. It consists of interviews with people involved in the Rotary movement and other charities.
He lives near Stroud in Gloucestershire with his wife, Angela. They have two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.
The Press Release
With the Olympic Games looming in 2012, all eyes will be on the world-class athletes making their way to London. But you don't have to be a top sports person to get involved at the heart of things. For at every Olympics, tens of thousands of ordinary people are taken on as volunteers, helping with everything from ticket control and stadium management to medical back-up and cleaning.
And now at last, here's a book for them.
I Was An Olympic Volunteer, written by Stroud-based Mike Cooper, is an essential insight into what it means to serve at the Olympic Games. He travelled to Atlanta in 1996, where he worked as a volunteer in stadium management. His role gave him a unique vantage point during the opening ceremony, as well as an opportunity to see at first hand events such as swimming, cycling, tennis, hockey, judo, water polo and others.
He not only describes the events at Atlanta – which included a devastating bomb blast – he also offers invaluable advice for any would-be Olympic volunteers. He draws on a diary he kept of his experiences, as well as a series of articles he wrote for the Bristol Evening News, to give a vivid account of his time there.
"Those three weeks were the most thrilling and exciting days of my life," he says. "To be part of the Greatest Show on Earth' was a wonderful privilege. I've included conversations I had with athletes, coaches, families and with past Olympians. This book should appeal to all with a love of sport, as well as potential 2012 London volunteers and anyone with an interest in the Olympic Games."
Mike has always had a passion for sport and has run in the New York and London Marathons. An enthusiastic cyclist, he completed the Land's End to John O'Groats ride at the age of 71, raising over £7,000 for charity. He has also cycled the length of the South Island, New Zealand, and toured Japan – subjects he has frequently talked about as an after-dinner speaker.
For the past three years, he has presented a weekly programme on local radio, interviewing people involved with the Rotary movement and other charities. Indeed, half the profits from I Was An Olympic Volunteer will be donated to the charity End Polio Now, an international campaign run by The Rotary Foundation.
Mike lives near Stroud with his wife, Angela. They have two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.
- I Was An Olympic Volunteer: The diary of an Olympic volunteer at the Atlanta Centenary Olympic Games, is published by Fast-Print Publishing, price £7.99 . Copies can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org or Amazon or Waterstones
- Editor's note: for more information, or interviews, contact Mike Cooper at email@example.com
- Mike is a member of The Rotary Club of Nailsworth in District 1100
CLUB SPEAKER FINDERS PLEASE NOTE
Mike would happy to speak to any Club about life as a volunteer at the games and has already spoken at a number of Rotary, Probus and other Clubs. To add colour to photo shots and presentations he can wear the uniform. Contact him direct at his email address above to make arrangements.