Coca-Cola, the Olympics longest-standing sponsor, was tonight forced to issue a grovelling apology after it deleted the birthplace of the Games, Greece, from a map displayed at the Olympic Park during London 2012.

The omission has caused fury in Greece with hundreds of messageboards condemning Coca-Cola, which has been associated with the Olympics since Amsterdam in 1928 and been a TOP sponsor since the programme was launched in 1986.

Coca-Cola has been the Presenting Partner of the official Olympic and Paralympic Pin Trading Centres since 1988 and it was in this role that it produced the map. 

The map, displayed at Pin Trading Centres on the Olympic Park and Hyde Park, did not show several countries, including Turkey, which is particularly embarrassing for a company whose chief executive, Muhtar Kent, is Turkish. 

But it was the fact that it did not include Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics, which has proved the most controversial with insidethegames receiving several hundred comments today alone on the topic.

Coca-Cola, whose strapline for its Hellenic division is "passion for excellence", today issued an apology for the mistake after being contacted by insidethegames.

"Coca-Cola recognises and appreciates the importance, influence and contribution of Greece to the Olympics," a spokesman told insidethegames

"We regret any misrepresentation of Greece on the world maps that were displayed inside the Pin Trading Centres at Hyde Park and the Olympic Park. 

"The original maps were designed as simplified geographical renderings of countries and continents of the world and were not drawn to scale.

"As a result, several countries, including Greece, were inaccurately represented. 

"Coca-Cola has taken the matter very seriously and, once the situation was brought to our attention, as a matter of urgency, a new, more accurate design was put into production. 

"When the Pin Trading Centre on the Olympic Park reopens we will ensure it features the new map. 

"Although there is a now a lower level of pin trading at the Hyde Park Pin Trading Centre, we will ensure a new map is installed there tomorrow, August 18."

By Duncan Mackay in London


The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the former governors of the sport, is launching a campaign to get cricket restored to the Olympic programme because they believe it would help it develop around the world.

Cricket has only ever appeared once at the Olympics, in Paris in 1900, when teams representing Great Britain and France played each other, and was won by 158 runs by Britain.

But neither team was nationally selected with the British side being a touring club, the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, while the French team, the French Athletic Club Union, comprising mainly British expatriates living in Paris.

But now the MCC's World Cricket Committee, which includes former England captain Michael Vaughan and ex-Australia skipper Steve Waugh, has urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make getting the Twenty20 form of the sport into the Olympics a priority.

"The Committee subsequently discussed the possibilities of cricket becoming an Olympic sport and believes this may be an important route for developing the game around the world and particularly in China," an MCC statement read.

The sport made its debut at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, in 2010 when Bangladesh won the men's event and Pakistan the women's.

But, perhaps most significantly for the future development of the sport, Japan beat China in the bronze medal playoff in the women's tournament.

Rodney Miles, the former chairman of the Hong Kong Cricket Club (HKCC) who addressed the MCC on the topic at their meeting at Lord's believes the sport has a future in China if it can get into the Olympics.

"In China cricket is seen by many as a minority sport, which is what you have to overcome, hence the Olympics," he told the BBC.

"That's the issue, to get more people to watch and understand the game."

"Why are they not in the World Cup or the Olympics?

"They should be there.

"That's what life's about for sportspeople."

But the earliest cricket can be included on the programme for the Olympics is 2024 as the process for 2020 is already well underway.

Seven sports are bidding.

Baseball and softball have put in joint bid while climbing, karate, roller sports, squash, wakeboard and wushu are also hoping for inclusion.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to make a decision on which sport to include at its Session in Buenos Aires on September 7, 2013.

By Duncan Mackay in London


Usain Bolt said he had “no respect” for Carl Lewis, the man whose Olympic feats he eclipsed with victory in the 200m, saying the American’s recent comments on doping were attention-seeking.

Bolt targeted the former Olympic 100m and 200m champion after becoming the first man to retain the double sprint titles with another scintillating performance in the 200m final.

The Jamaican was referring to recent comments from Lewis, who he said had appeared to question the validity of his achievements.

“I want to say that I have no respect for Carl Lewis. It is looking for attention, for an athlete out of the sport to be saying things is really upsetting," said Bolt. "He was talking about doping and for me he was just looking for attention.”

Bolt had earlier declared himself the greatest athlete of all time after winning the 200m to retain both short sprints, something Lewis did not achieve in his prime.

Bolt led a Jamaican clean-sweep of the medals, with Yohan Blake collecting his second silver medal of the Games, and former hurdler Warren Weir taking bronze in a personal best of 19.84sec.

Bolt’s winning time of 19.32sec was the joint fourth-fastest of all time and matched the time clocked by Michael Johnson in Atlanta in 1996. Bolt said he managed to equal it despite having a bad back.

Asked if the Jamaican track team were drug-free, Bolt insisted that they were running clean. He also dismissed comments from Victor Conte, suggesting that 60% of the athletes in London are doping, and criticised Carl Lewis for hinting that his success may not be as it seems.

“It is really annoying when people on the sidelines say stupid stuff. If you want attention then go and do something. A lot of the people who are trying to taint our sport, like Lewis, people don’t even remember who they are.

“Without a doubt we are drug-free. We train hard. I see us all train together, we throw up every day, we take ice baths, we end up flat out on the track. When people taint us it is really hard but we are trying our best to show the world that we are running clean.”

"It's what I came here to do. I'm now a legend, I'm also the greatest athlete to live. I am in the same category as Michael Johnson. I'm honoured."

He added: “The world record was possible when I came off the corner but I guess I wasn’t fit enough. I was fast but not fit enough, I could feel the strain on my back so I tried to keep my form and keep going.

“It is hard for me, I really dedicate to my work, I know what London meant to me, and I gave it my all. I gave it my best it was hard I really wanted to break the world record and tried but just not fit enough.

In 2008 double Olympic champion Lewis said: "I'm still working with the fact that he [Bolt] dropped from 10-flat to 9.6sec in one year. I think there are some issues. I'm proud of America right now because we have the best random and most comprehensive drug testing program.

"Countries like Jamaica do not have a random program, so they can go months without being tested. I'm not saying anyone is on anything, but everyone needs to be on a level playing field."

Only Blake and Bolt have run quicker than Bolt's 200m time, but the young pretender had no answer to his mentor, who was more relaxed than ever before the race.

He chatted with a volunteer as the athletes emerged, then fist bumped her colleague who stood behind his blocks. When he was introduced to the crowd he executed a slow royal wave, a stunt dreamt up before the race.

He was all business when the gun went however, getting a smart start by his standards and galloping into a decisive lead around the turn.

With the field beaten it was between Bolt and Blake, and with 70m to run the younger man tried to close, but the champion stretched again, held off his rival and cruised across the line, easing up slightly as he achieved the “double-double” he set as his London goal.

“It is the one I wanted and I got it, and I am very proud of myself,” Bolt said. “I had a tough season but I came here and did what I had to do.”

In the photo-finish picture, the first part of his body that broke the line was the finger he had raised to his lips. After the race he ran through the full range of antics, including press-ups on the finish line – an idea from his friends – and grabbed a camera to take pictures of his team-mates.

Bolt said he intended to rest before the relay and then celebrate properly at the weekend. “On Saturday I am going to celebrate like it is my birthday.”

Asked about the achievement of three men from the same track club sweeping the medals - all three train with Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club in Kingston - Bolt said: "It's wonderful. Jamaica has proven that we are the greatest sprint country. I've got nothing left to prove. I've showed the world I'm the best and, right now, I just want to enjoy myself."

By Paul Kelso


How has London 2012 changed the sporting map of the world?

The United States won the highest number of gold medals and the most medals in total, with China dropping to second place on the medals table after unprecedented dominance at their home Olympics in Beijing four years ago.

Third place for Great Britain, exceeding all expectations and smashing a 2008 performance previously thought outstanding in its own right, had a knock-on effect for Russia as they fell out of the top three for the first time since the end of the Soviet era.

South Korea improved to fifth, their best finish since hosting the Games in Seoul 24 years ago, while Australia endured a comparatively miserable Olympics to take 10th place, their worst performance in two decades.

Here, BBC Sport breaks down how each nation won its medals, what the result might mean and how fans at home have reacted.

United States

This was the best-ever performance from a US team outside American soil, topped only by huge hauls of 78 golds at the St Louis 1904 Games and 83 at the boycotted Los Angeles Games of 1984.

Restoring the US to the top of the pile, and doing so comprehensively in terms of both Olympic titles and overall medals, had been the team's ambition and delighted their "immensely proud" Olympic committee chief executive Scott Blackmun.

Swimming was far and away the biggest asset to the US team, contributing 16 gold medals, nine more than its nearest rival, athletics. Of those 16, Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps were responsible for four each, a result that puts the pair of them above the entire Australian team.

Beyond their traditional dominance on the running track and in the pool, what impresses about the US performance at London 2012 is its breadth. The team won titles in 15 separate sports, unmatched by any other nation.

And the ultimate feel-good factor was sealed on the Games' final day as the US men ensured both basketball gold medals would head back across the pond.


The slip back into second place for China does not come as a surprise.

China's own officials were keen to play down expectations before the Games, not least because - shorn of the advantage of being the hosts - the team was several hundred athletes lighter than that fielded in Beijing four years ago. Funding had taken a similar dip.

When China won 51 gold medals at Beijing 2008, 38 of them came from only six sports: badminton, diving, gymnastics, shooting, table tennis and weightlifting. At London 2012, those sports supplied 27 golds - Chinese dominance still exists there, but not at the all-conquering level of their home Games.

In gymnastics, for example, China 'only' won five gold medals compared to 11 in Beijing, while there were shocks in some disciplines China had been expected to wrap up with ease. For example, Qiu Bo missing out on gold in the men's 10m platform diving.

Back in China, much has been made of perceived judging scandals and bias in the outcomes of some Olympic events, though little of this has filtered through into the Western press.

However, China does have one big success story from London 2012: swimming. Sixteen-year-old sensation Ye Shiwen and freestyle specialist Sun Yang, the nation's first-ever male Olympic champion in the pool, led the way as China picked up five swimming gold medals, making a dent in traditionally US-held territory for the first time.

Great Britain

You probably know this story by now. This is certainly the greatest Games for Britain in more than a century, and realistically the greatest-ever, given the only larger medal tally came in 1908, in London, when a third of all the competitors were British.

Against all the odds - rule changes, the loss of Britain-dominated events, reductions in riders per race - the GB track cycling team once again brushed aside all comers in the velodrome, winning seven gold medals and only failing to reach the podium in one of 10 events. That was the team sprint, where Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish were disqualified.

Rowing was the only other sport to bring in nine medals, four of them gold, while athletics contributed six medals (three of them gold in one all-star hour on the middle Saturday of the Games) and three sports added five: equestrian, boxing and sailing.

Gold medals came from 13 different sports as several made impressive breakthroughs, including canoe slalom, road cycling, triathlon and taekwondo.

Swimming, however, will be a concern and a review has already been launched after no Briton won a gold medal in the Aquatics Centre, with just one silver and two bronze medals to show.

Optimists may also conclude from London 2012 that the British team came within a whisker of at least five or six more Olympic titles. While nobody can seriously suggest a challenge for second place is on the cards, if funding levels are maintained and progress continues for the next four years, a successful defence of third place could be a realistic expectation.


Russia's slide out of the top three may have more to do with other nations improving rather than any failings of their own team.

In raw medal-winning terms, Russia's London 2012 performance marked an improvement on Beijing 2008, improving from 23 gold medals to 24 and up from a total of 73 medals to 82.

But, just as China's sporting prowess rocketed in the years building up to Beijing, pushing Russia back, so the British bounce on the back of host-nation status saw GB leapfrog Russia into third.

No gold medals in weightlifting, where five silvers were won, will have been hard for the Russian team to bear, though athletics remained as strong as ever, bringing home eight golds and 18 medals overall, even without the likes of Yelena Isinbayeva contributing gold as expected. Three Russians won gold in judo, famed as President Vladimir Putin's favourite sport.

"We have fallen behind the likes of China," admitted Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee. "But I can say that the state policy of supporting sports and children's sports very much resembles the old Soviet system we dominated.

"They have actually copied the Soviet system of children's training and so on. It is rather difficult for us to return to the Soviet system now and, besides, it is doubtful whether it is reasonable in this day and age."

South Korea

South Korea's Olympic performance has remained remarkably stable over the years, almost always registering around 30 medals in total, and what tends to determine their position in the medal table is more the fortunes of other nations.

This time, South Korea had 13 golds among their standard 30-or-so medals (28, to be exact), enough to edge them into fifth ahead of Germany and France, each of whom won more medals in total but only managed 11 golds each.

That gives the South Koreans their best-ever finish in an Olympic medal table with the exception of their home Seoul 1988 Olympics, where once again a haul of 30-ish medals and 12 gold got them into the top four. South Korea has invested substantially in elite sport in recent years, matching British funding levels in some instances.

Eleven gold medals, meanwhile, is Germany's worst performance at an Olympics since the Berlin Wall came down. The Germans sent a team bigger than that of China but won not a single medal in the pool, relying instead on canoe sprint, equestrian and rowing for most of their gold medals. The reception in Germany has been largely negative, with much debate about how the team could have been better prepared.


Woe is Australia. The twin themes of the London Olympic medal table have been British success and Australian struggle, which began in swimming and extended elsewhere as they finished 10th.

Sally Pearson, the 100m hurdler, delivered gold as expected having spent years being billed as the woman who could not fail to win, but then Australian swimming has had that reputation for decades yet not one individual gold went to an Aussie in the pool at London 2012. Ian Thorpe seemed embarrassed as he conceded: "In some ways our athletes have been unlucky, but this has been a disappointing Games."

Sailing came to Australia's rescue with three gold medals, but a final tally of seven titles - the worst since Barcelona 1992 - has already moved some Antipodean columnists to suggest a re-evaluation of Australia's place in the global sporting domain. As more nations inject the kind of funding and dedication into elite sport which was once an Australian trademark, can a country of its size keep up?


What of the next Summer Olympic hosts? For a country of almost 200m people, Brazil punches well below its weight in elite summer sport, finishing 22nd in London.

The record for Brazil is five gold medals at Athens 2004, while just 12 years ago the Brazilian team came away from Sydney 2000 without a single gold for their troubles, placing as low as 53rd.

In London, Brazil picked up one gold medal in gymnastics, one in judo and one in volleyball, with football silver and a couple of medals in the pool being other highlights.

The very last medal to be won at London 2012, bronze in the women's modern pentathlon, went to Brazil's Yane Marques, which may yet prove a good omen ahead of Rio 2016. But for the hosts to make any impact on the medal table in four years' time, a lot will have to change.

By Ollie Williams

BBC Sport


Amid the incredible Mo and Bolt show on the final day of the glorious Olympic athletics track programme, it was easy to overlook another quite extraordinary happening in the Olympic Stadium.

Sandwiched between Mo Farah annexing the 5,000 metres so gloriously and Usain Bolt landing his third gold of the meeting – and a world record – in the sprint relay, a 19-year-old kid called Keshorn Walcott was busy showing us why athletics remains the one Olympic sport with a true global reach.

Here was a teenager from a little Caribbean island with no heritage in the throwing events becoming the youngest ever javelin winner in the history of the Games. Cricketing geniuses like Brian Lara, yes. The odd dazzling footballer like Dwight Yorke, too. Or a one-off champion sprinter like the 1976 100 metres king Hasely Crawford. But a Trinidadian javelin thrower? Now we were in the realms of ‘cool chuckings’ fantasy.

Then Keshorn told his amazing story. About how he had been no good at sprinting or triple jump so had started off hurling bamboo sticks around on the beaches near his home and then graduated to throwing a javelin for fun with his cousins on an old school field. About how he had no proper facilities to train so ended up having to make the regular slog to Port of Spain just to learn his trade.

Yet within four years, even though he never believed he could win here, he had beaten all the powerhouses from the European javelin strongholds and sent Trinidad into such sheer delight that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced Monday as a national holiday.

Keshorn’s fairytale seemed to sum up what a magnificent, surprising championships London 2012 was treated to in the Olympic Stadium.

As Lord Coe hailed it as the best week of track and field he had ever watched, it really did feel as if athletics, a sport which has been struggling for so long to keep its head above water, embroiled in doping scandals and losing its credibility in the eyes of an increasingly underwhelmed public, was making a stirring comeback, grabbing back its rightful place on centre stage as the premier Olympic attraction.

You could easily convince yourselves that the Olympic titles, earned amid 80,000 ecstatic cheers by Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford in a fantasy 44 minutes, were the biggest prizes any British athlete carried off during the fortnight simply because of the sheer bewildering spread of competition in athletics.

For, extraordinarily, no fewer than 41 different countries won medals in athletics at these Games, including 23 which struck gold. In comparison, only 19 countries won medals in the swimming pool and 18 in the rowing at Dorney. This illustrates that, along with football (which was not being played for the game’s ultimate prize here at the Olympics) athletics is still the great democracy of world sport.

It was the one event in London where you could find yourself being beaten for gold by anyone. By a Trinidadian javelin thrower. Or a men’s 4 x 400m relay squad from the Bahamas. Or a woman triple jumper from Kazakhstan. Or a male race walker from China.

Over 11,500 miles, from New Zealand’s Valerie Adams in the shot (promoted “speechless” to gold after the doping disqualification of Belarussian champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk) to Algeria’s 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi, you could find athletes from 70 nations stretching far over all five continents either in a final or in the top eight.

So when Coe called Farah’s double triumph “an achievement of extraordinary magnitude”, he was not kidding.

The whole world runs distance races; no less than 15 men have sped under 13 minutes for 5,000m alone this season while another 30 have cracked a brutal 27min 30sec for 10,000. That is a measure of how tough it was for Farah.

When you have stellar performances, like David Rudisha’s sublime 800m world record, teenager Kirani James’s one-lap demonstration and Bolt’s golden treble, added to such tours de force from the home stars, you have a recipe, completed by stirring in 80,000 fans a day, which athletics would kill to find again.

“It’s got to be built on,” said Coe, who should take the reins of the International Association of Athletics Federations after Lamine Diack’s retirement. “This should be our template. That when we present track and field well, it can be, in the eyes of the public, as exciting and competitive as any other sport. I think what we have done here is fulfil the potential of track and field.”

London, from British sporting folklore to Trindidadian fairytales, has led the way. Now the IAAF must surely follow the dream weaver Coe.

By Ian Chadband, Chief Sports Correspondent


Meet the volunteers who helped to make the London 2012 Olympic Games a success.

George Hoy

Volunteer at Olympic stadium athletics

George, a 16-year-old schoolboy, has perhaps the best gift any volunteer could receive: Usain Bolt’s cap.

George was assigned as Bolt’s 'box carrier’ at a heat for the 200m on Tuesday. George’s task was to carry out a box into which Bolt puts his tracksuit and other items before competing. The volunteers pick lots to see which athlete they are assigned and George picked Bolt.

“He came out and he had a big rucksack on and he said to me 'what’s up’ and he put his rucksack in my box,” he said.

“He was getting his blocks ready and warming up and as he came up to me, he gave me 'knuckles’ — our hands tapped each others and then as he stripping to his running kit, I said: 'I like your hat’ and he said: 'Would you like it?’

“I replied: 'yes please’. He handed it over there and then. And as he did so, the crowd went a bit mad because they saw him give it to me.”

The cap, with Jamaica and London 2012 written on it, will now be framed and kept for ever. George, from South Woodford, in Essex, is a county standard, middle distance runner. His name was put forward by his coach at the start of the year and after a series of trials, George was selected for the volunteering team.

“Bolt was just really nice, really friendly. Like a normal person,” said George.

“I was lucky I got him in a heat. I think he would have been more focused in a final.”

Niki Fisher

Lifeguard at the aquatics centre

It may seem odd that the world’s best swimmers and divers need lifeguards. But the London 2012 pools are no different from leisure centres up and down the country. Events can’t take place without rescue swimmers at the ready.

Mr Fisher is one of a team of about 150 lifeguards on duty at the various aquatic pools used for diving, swimming and water polo. For him, it has been the greatest honour and vindication of years of training.

“Obviously they are world class athletes,” said Mr Fisher, “But there is always the potential for every eventuality.”

He is a duty manager at a leisure centre in Bexleyheath, south-east London, who built up days in lieu and added it to his annual leave to work at London 2012 for free.

Mr Fisher, 28, who lives in Eltham in south London, said: “I just really wanted to be part of the Olympics. Yesterday I turned up for my work shift at the leisure centre wearing my volunteer’s uniform and they went: 'wow. You are actually doing it. I can now say I am an Olympic lifeguard. That is special.”

Stefan Kunstmann

Volunteer at Weymouth with responsibility for VIP guests

Mr Kunstmann’s abiding memory of these Olympics will be the Duchess of Cambridge asking him where to find the tea bags and milk so she could make herself a cup of tea.

At the time the Duchess was aboard the 52-ft motorboat chartered by the Olympics organisers to allow VIPs the chance to witness the sailing at close quarters.

Mr Kunstmann’s role, unpaid of course, has been to look after the dignitaries and explain to them the rules of Olympic sailing and what is going on while they watch.

“The Duchess was incredibly nice and totally normal,” said Mr Kunstmann.

“She was not what you might expect. Kate even made her own tea. She asked me where to find certain things like milk. She didn’t ask me to get the teas in and that was really funny.” Prince Philip enjoyed his first day at sea so much he came back the next, while David Cameron, the Princess Royal and Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, were also looked after by Mr Kunstmann, 33, who grew up in Germany but now lives in London.

A professional yachtsman, Mr Kunstmann worked at the games for three weeks unpaid. With the Duchess on board, a boat carrying photographers was getting too close and his job was to signal to the vessel to keep its distance.

“The Duchess joked that they were trying to get a bikini shot. I had to laugh about that.”

Helen Flooks

Assistant to the South Korean team Mrs Flooks, 51, has been cheering every gold. But not those won by Team GB but by the Koreans instead. She has been assigned to the Korean Olympic committee, assisting them despite speaking no Korean.

“The best thing is I feel like part of the Korean team,” said Mrs Flooks, from Rode near Bath, who has left her husband at home while she volunteers in London.

“They are so nice and welcoming and friendly. I am learning all about their culture. I’m not really interested in Team GB. Even when Team GB was winning all the golds,, I just wanted Korea to win.”

She has made friends for life and her favourite moment was being presented with an honorary Korean team track suit which she is “really proud to wear” — although not during working hours when she must don her volunteer uniform.

Mrs Flooks has always been keen on sport and she and her husband run a specialist company dealing involved in cycle racing. She has taken time off from work to help out for free, immersing herself in Korean culture and enjoying the specially brought in Korean version of the Pot Noodle, which athletes and officials alike prefer.

Emma Sulley

Volunteer physiotherapist at the aquatics centre

Miss Sulley, who lives in Australia, flew half way round the world at a cost of about £1,000, paid out of her own pocket, to volunteer for the Games.

A trained physiotherapist, her primary role has been to dispense treatment to the one hundred or so teams at the Olympics who cannot afford to bring their own medical back up.

In all, there have been about 1,500 volunteer physios and medics across the Games. She gives massages and sorts out soft tissue injuries, preparing athletes before and after competition.

Miss Sulley, 34, from Perth, signed up for the Games three years ago but quit the UK in January to return home only to come back again.

“My favourite moment was being asked to treat the Team GB water polo team.

It was such an honour.”

Marie Johnson

Volunteer at the Olympic stadium looking after the athletes

Ms Johnson, who lives in Hackney — one of the Olympic boroughs — didn’t want to watch the games on television and didn’t want to be a 'bit part’ player.

A former England schools sprinter, the 53-year-old took two weeks off work as a family therapist , she was desperate to help. She has spent the past week guiding the athletes from the warm-up track and into the stadium to compete.

Two volunteers are assigned to each athlete and a complex process is gone through from first call on the warm-up track to final call beneath the stadium.

The timetable of events is precision run and the volunteers play a critical role in getting the athletes into the stadium with the correct numbers on and sorting out any last minute problems, such as escorting them to the toilets before competition.

Her highlight is escorting Jessica Ennis into the stadium on the night she won gold while her abiding memory is the moment Usain Bolt gave a young volunteer his cap.

“As Usain was stripping off to compete, he took off his hat and gave it to this young person. The boy was grinning from ear to ear.”

Carol Gordon

Ms Gordon, 50, has been involved in coaching volleyball — the indoor variety rather than the beach one — at a national level for almost a quarter of a century and jumped at the chance to volunteer for the Games.

It has been her dream come true and she hopes that British volleyball can use this as a springboard for future success.

Based at Earl’s Court, Ms Gordon’s role is to look after the athletes, learning all the time from the world’s best and hoping to transfer some of that knowledge when she returns to her unpaid day job as coach of England’s under-16 volleyball squad.

Ms Gordon, who lives in London and is about to start a new job at an elite sports academy on the south coast, said: “I meet and greet the athletes and we look after them from the moment they arrive. The highlight for me was meeting the world’s best volleyball player Kim Yeon-koung. She is a phenomenal all round player.”

By Robert Mendick