As preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games begin in earnest, for some there remains one last hurdle to jump. Jane Adlington, events manager for the British Olympic Association (BOA), is feverishly preparing to help send Team GB to Beijing.
Her role involves organising events with a core purpose of fundraising for the British Olympic team. A secondary function is raising awareness of Team GB. "We are a not-for-profit organisation but we are not a registered charity," says Adlington. "We don't receive any government or lottery funding. We are therefore totally reliant on commercial sponsorship and fundraising income. I was recruited to increase the events calendar to bring in more income."
With the Beijing event looming, an appeal is currently in place to raise £3m for the team, and the BOA's portfolio of events provides a vital resource in helping to reach that figure.
Certainly for Adlington and her colleagues, 2008 is a special year. While the Games in August provides its own challenges, this year also marks 100 years since London first hosted the Olympics. In recognition of this, the BOA is organising centenary celebrations. In May, for example, it will host a polo match at Guards Polo Club between Great Britain and Ireland that aims to replicate the 1908 final. This will be followed by a fundraising dinner.
In December, the 1908 Olympic Rugby Union Final, originally fought out between Australia and Great Britain, will be restaged in London as the finale to the celebrations. Due to the lack of a Great British team, GB representatives will appear under the guise of the Barbarians.
As well as such celebratory events, the BOA strategy involves spreading the Olympic message beyond the capital. "A lot of people think the Olympics is very London-focused. We are therefore trying to increase our regional events so that more of the country can be involved," says Adlington. "The Olympics is widely seen as being very exclusive, so we want to be inclusive and get people backing the team." As part of this regional drive, next month sees the Scottish Gold Ball take place at the BBC Scotland Headquarters in Glasgow.
Since joining the association eight months ago, Adlington has worked most frequently with agency Essentially, and the focus for the eight events on her roster is to have an impact on guests. "Our events are unique because of the Olympians we have access to," she says.
While preparing for June's Beijing Ball in London, which will signal the departure of the team, Adlington is also preparing to pack her bags to spend a month in the Chinese capital. Although she will not be managing specific events at the Games, she will venture east along with numerous colleagues to assume a hands-on role at the Games. There is surely no better training for when the Olympics train rolls into town.
JANE ADLINGTON IN BRIEF
2000: Freelance for agencies in Australia
2001: Events assistant at Leonard Cheshire Disability
2002: Events manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability
2006: Events manager at City University
2007: British Olympic Association events manager.