Games workers volunteer smiles to everyone

E-mail Down Under

Summer Olympics

September 19, 2000|By PAUL MCMULLEN

Did Australia deport all of its grumpy people for the Olympics, or does the climate and geography simply make everyone cheery? From the hotel chambermaid to the honcho who handles media access at the International Aquatic Centre, everyone in Sydney is accommodating and good-natured.

Need transport? No worries. Need a sandwich at 2:30 a.m.? Coming up.

There are 60,000 volunteers working the Games, and their demeanor makes the employees at Disney World seem more like Scrooge McDuck. "I suppose people who volunteer tend to be people who are into people," said one, who did not look like Barbra Streisand.

Mayor Martin O'Malley and Tony Williams, his counterpart from Washington, are here, making contacts that will help the Baltimore-D.C. region's bid for the 2012 Games. They can plan to use existing venues or build new ones, but it's unsure where they would find this many spirited people who can make the world feel welcome.

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