BY: Kelley Wyatt
Before leaving for South Korea to partake in this crazy journey, many people asked me what exactly I was going to be doing within the Rifle Storage. At the time, all I could tell them was that it would help the Biathlon in some sort of way, because I was not even entirely sure what I’d be doing myself. Now, after a little over two weeks of volunteering, I can give everyone the inside scoop of what I’ve been up to.
My shifts usually begin around 4:30 pm Korean time (2:30 am EST), and end around 10:00 pm Korean time (8:00 am EST). Because of our one hour and fifteen minute commute to Alpensia Biathlon Centre, I usually leave to get on the bus between 1:30 pm and 2:50 pm, depending on the schedule of busses that day. Even though I’d love to have an earlier shift to have my late afternoons or evenings more free to do things, my shift has an advantage because all of the races take place during my shift – both men’s and women’s.
My job consists of doing one of four things: scanning the rifles in and out, checking to ensure no ammunition is in the gun before checking it back in, working the computer, or double checking that the gun is in and out on paper. I am usually either scanning the gun in and out or working the computer on my shifts, which is awesome because it allows me to interact with the athletes.
One of the coolest experiences I have had on this trip within my volunteer position is the interaction with athletes. Never in my life did I ever think that I would be face-to-face with Olympians from all over the world – let alone speak to them on a day-to-day basis! One of my favorites is an athlete from Belgium named Michael Rosch. He has this really cool looking gun, but it kind of camouflages the barcode when scanning, especially because it’s in a spot where no other athlete puts it. He used to give me a hard time about it, but now everytime I see him, I immediately let him know that I’ve got this and know where it is. We don’t have a lot of time to talk to the athletes because they are getting ready to either race or leave, but it’s really cool being able to say that I’ve spoken to professional athletes from all over the world.
I’m extremely grateful for this experience and for all of the memories I have made and I’m super excited for what the few remaining days have in store for me!