Top BBC sports commentators Stuart Storey and John Inverdale, and former British athlete Dame Mary Peters, have all endorsed a new book by Stroud author Mike Cooper, which details his time as an Olympic volunteer.
Praise from this renowned trio is worth its weight in Olympic gold, for all three have had front-line involvement in the games, during their distinguished careers. Stuart Storey, a former British International and Olympic 110m hurdler who has commentated at eight summer Olympic Games, said: “For me as a commentator for BBC television during the games, Mike’s book proved to be a wonderful reminder of some of the great moments I too witnessed.”
Fellow broadcaster John Inverdale echoed those sentiments: “The book certainly brings to life what it’s like to be involved at a games, and I hope everyone involved in London feels the same way about their experience next year, as you clearly do 15 years on,” he said, referring to Mike’s obvious enthusiasm for his time as a volunteer.
Mary Peters, who wowed the nation by winning a gold medal in the 1972 women’s pentathlon, also called it a thoroughly enjoyable read. “Every volunteer for the 2012 London Games should read this book and make the most of their experience of the games,” she said.
I Was An Olympic Volunteer details Mike’s experiences at the 1996 Atlanta games, where he worked in stadium management. Not only does the book hold valuable advice for other would-be volunteers; it vividly recalls the highs and lows of these historic games, which included a devastating bomb blast.
To have this kind of endorsement from these top sports personalities is a real thrill. They have all experienced the excitement of the Olympics first-hand, in one way or another, so it is a hugely valuable recommendation to have them say that my book brought back fond memories.” Mike said.
Tens of thousands of ordinary people are taken on as volunteers at each Olympic games, helping with everything from ticket control and stadium management to medical back-up and cleaning.
“Those three weeks in Atlanta were the most thrilling and exciting days of my life,” Mike said. “To be part of the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ was a wonderful privilege. I’ve included in my book conversations I had with athletes, coaches, families and with past Olympians.”
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.
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 at £7.99. It is can be obtained from Amazon and Waterstones. It is also available on e-books or Kindle.
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First name out of the hat wins.
Pictured right, Mike congratulating Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia after his victory in the men’s 10,000 metres race at Atlanta 1996