China is a country of superlatives: the most populous nation in the world; the
biggest, most expensive Olympics ever; a record number of Olympic volunteers,
one and a half million of them, to be exact.
Amid this volunteer army are 935 foreign volunteers, who are very serious
about making sure visitors to the Olympics have a good time. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing on the
training classes and one of the group's leaders.
He calls himself Chairman
George. But when he is amongst citizens
of the world, he identifies himself as Canadian George, in honor of his home
country. He is helping encourage other
foreigners in China to be good Olympic volunteers.
"I've given them some
motivation, and some excitement and some passion, because I think passion and
enthusiasm of all of us being together internationally is what makes for a
better world," he said.
Chairman George stands out
among the foreign volunteers, who will help make Olympic visitors feel more
Most of the students are
diligent and show real skill when it comes to singing happy songs. Others appear to be a little confused or not
An instructor urges the
volunteers to smile warmly and clap with discipline. One volunteer even shows off the official cheer.
Speaking Chinese well is
not a requirement. Some volunteers say
they believe they were chosen because they have a nice smile. And the training
is not all fun and games.
"We also have first
aid classes, which is going to be great because it's going to be so hot during
the Olympic games,” a French volunteer said. “So, we're going to have to handle
a lot of things, a lot of disease, and the spectators, so this is very
Chairman George is both a
leader and a follower. He also performs a rousing rendition of a song he wrote
in Chinese and English, appropriately named the "Olympic Volunteer