London 2012 was a pivotal moment for GB heptathlete, Jessica Ennis-Hill. The poster girl for the games had a chance to win Gold in front of a home crowd.
It was a chance that she seized and the rest, as they say, is history.
But Jess’ victory had a profound and lasting effect.
Standing behind her on the track, was a young Laviai Nielsen – a kit carrier volunteer.
Nielsen, 20, is now the European Junior 400m champion and BUCS 200m champion.
“Ever since I stood behind her as a volunteer and watched her prepare for one of the biggest races of her life, I have been in awe of her focus, determination and drive.” said Nielsen, reflecting on Jess’ retirement.
Watching Jess at the games had a profound impact on Nielsen, who is currently taking a break from her studies at King’s College London to focus on London 2017.
“She has inspired me to be the best athlete I can be, and now that she has announced her retirement, she has reminded me that I should always make the most out of every opportunity“, said Nielsen.
“I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without her as my idol.”
Nielsen is now encouraging people to become a volunteer at British Athletics major events.
Speaking to the BBC, Neilsen said, “volunteering can be amazingly rewarding and to be at the forefront of a global event in the UK will just be awesome…If I wasn’t hoping to be competing, I would do it again.”
Unfortunately, volunteer applications for London 2017 are now closed. But applications are still open for the indoor events, Anniversary games and British Trials.