By Shelby Brooks
GEORGE Misson joined thousands of Australians to volunteer at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Born and raised in Leongatha but now living in Inverloch, George was a volunteer drug chaperone for the track sprint finals, shooting, archery and boxing.
He gained the position through Surf Life Saving Australia and the job was in association with the Australian Sporting Anti-doping Authority (ASADA).
“Our jobs were more critical in the drug team than anyone else’s,” he said.
George explained that a drug chaperone escorted the athletes directly after the race until they were drug tested, which could be several hours.
Athletes could only drink from the drinks George supplied and George had to be three or four paces away from them at all time.
George’s best experience was for the final of the men’s 100 metre sprint, in which he chaperoned Ato Boldon, silver medallist.
“We weren’t allowed to take photos or autographs unless they offered,” George said.
But Ato gave George his running number and Maurice Greene, gold medallist, even asked to speak to George’s wife Janet on the phone to say hello.
“That’s what I like about the Olympics: the athletes treated all the volunteers with respect,” George said.
President Samaranch of the International Olympic Committee even shook George’s hand and said thank you for his service as a volunteer.
“He said we were the best volunteers of any Olympics. That’s why it was dubbed the friendly games,” George said.
“I doubt you’d have one volunteer who wouldn’t have experienced joy working at the games.
“It’s the pinnacle. It has been the greatest volunteering experience I have ever had.”