The last medal of the 2012 Games...


Imagine a soldier caught behind enemy lines - in order to pass a message back to his commanding officer, he would have to fence 35 opponents, swim 200m, ride an unfamiliar horse, run 3 km and shoot 15 targets - all in 1 day. This is the sport of Modern Pentathlon - fantastically exciting and fast paced.

Now imagine having the opportunity to work outdoors during a British Summer (???!!!), in one of the most majestic and picturesque parks in the world - Greenwich Park.

Angle Consulting first had the opportunity to become involved with Modern Pentathlon in 2009, designing and manufacturing a shooting range for the World Championships at Crystal Palace.

When thoughts turned to the 2012 Games held recently, the original brief was to design a 40m shooting range for Modern Pentathlon such that it could be assembled in Greenwich Park, at night, in less than 4 hours.

Based on the premise that a current F1 pitstop occurs in under 4 seconds, 4 hours to build a shooting range should be achievable.
Using a crew comprising, amongst others, F1 and Le Mans mechanics, a construction time of just over 3 hours was achieved at an Olympic Test Event in 2011, at Greenwich Park.Mission accomplished. Time for a rest. No - not quite...

A further challenge was presented at this point - this feat needed to be repeated during the Games themselves (original plan), with an added complication thrown soon as the Equestrian events had ended, Greenwich Park was to be transformed to suit Modern Pentathlon. As well as building the shooting range, there was also a Field of Play (FoP) to prepare, a ride course and run course to be constructed, technology to be installed and tested, signage to be hung and athlete lounges prepared (new plan). 

As for the timing - not 4 hours anymore - that would be unreasonable after all. We had a whole 13 hours to effect the transition of Greenwich Park, overnight!!!

Talk about managing a project with solid deadlines...This was getting involved with Modern Pentathlon in a whole new way. I'm not a huge fan of horses for a start - let's be honest - one end bites and the other end kicks.

Armed with the title of Field of Play Group Leader and a cast of almost 40 people (approximately 3/4 of them volunteers), work commenced at 6 PM. As the people of Greenwich slumbered blissfully on, work progressed. Those lucky enough to sleep until 7 AM the following morning were presented with a prepared and complete FoP upon waking. 

There were two finals over two days, with a Medal Ceremony in each. Team GB was represented by Nick Woodbridge and Sam Weale in the mens event and Mhairi Spence (current World Champion) and Samantha Murray in the women's event.Samantha Murray, starting the race in 4th place, overtook twice, the second time on the last lap. As she came into the stadium in 2ndplace, with 300m to go, the roar of 20,500 excited spectators carried her all the way across the line – the last medal of the Games, a Silver to Team GB.

In a world dominated by TV viewing figures, during competition, under the watchful eyes of 20,500 spectators and millions of TV viewers around the world, my team executed split second transition, enabling the sport to unfold to schedule - I am so proud of all of them.

Having spent almost 20 years in Professional Motorsport, I wasn't entirely convinced about the Olympics. Well, I stand corrected.

The Olympics is huge, mega, amazing, fantastic and spectacular. The scale, logistics and planning involved are almost inconceivable. The emotion of the event is tangible, real and amazing. In all my working years, I have not come across a more enthusiastic and dedicated bunch of people. 

Perhaps the lesson to take away from this is that there are no extraordinary people - there are only ordinary people, who are capable of achieving extraordinary things, because they set their minds to the task at hand.