Based at Heathrow, Ronnie has been busy welcoming the first athletes to London - and there have already been some big stars among them.
Was that really the sprinter Tyson Gay strolling past, with a wave and big smile? Tyson Gay runs fast and walks like a cool dude. Go Tyson, Go!
11 th July
I’ve been invited to a party. Not just any old party, but a Brazilian party at Casa Brasilia in Somerset House, London. I knew the Prada reading glasses would dazzle, eventually.
A Rio 2016 Observer attending the Games makes the offer as I Validate her Accreditation Certificate. It seems impolite to refuse, so I don’t.
16 th July
Athletes are beginning to arrive in numbers, ranging from Nigerian table-tennis players to Canadian track cyclists and Japanese canoeists, but my first athlete of the day is Troy Dumais, the American diver.
While not an expert on the fashion front, I note that the Japanese outfit is extremely smart and eye catching – a soft grey, white pinstripe jacket. I wouldn’t mind one at all.
17 th July
As I log on for the afternoon shift the conversation at the Accreditation desks is buzzing with excitement – the atmosphere is electric. The Brazilian football team will arrive during the afternoon – and what an amazing arrival at 4.45 pm.
It’s not a scrum, but a lot of bodies for sure, moving ever so slowly towards the desks and the mass is made up of armed security, photographers who appeared from nowhere but bang on cue, an assortment of BAA Volunteers and Games Makers.
It’s truly awesome and frankly, impressive! At the head of the entourage is the ‘wunderkind’, the future of FC Barcelona (apparently) shuffling along, cans draped around his neck, baseball cap on back to front – it’s NEYMAR.
As befitting a young prince, he has the choice of which desk to go to.
Yes, I admit to employing my best pleading, beckoning eyes graced with a smile - and that’s how I came face to face with the young genius who can mesmerise with the dip of a shoulder and a twinkle of feet to leave a defender tackling thin air – I just about managed to get the lanyard round his neck.
He wasn’t the only star though, in the pack was Hulk (will he or won’t he go to Chelsea?), Rafael of Manchester United and Real Madrid’s imposing defender Marcelo. Games on!
18 th July
Members of the Korean swimming team have a photographer with them and the close proximity of the snapper would indicate that I must be a candidate for the sports pages of the Seoul Evening Times but I can’t find a copy anywhere – if there are any ex-pats with a hobby of collecting back issues...
The Korean flag is very distinctive on the deep navy blue blazers, with the men carrying ‘must have’ (or so I’m told by my female colleagues) white man bags.
20 th July
The day explodes to life at 6.45 am in a blast of green and gold as a plane load of noisy exuberant South Africans make their way towards the desks.
They are up for this and the energy is palpable. Sailors, rowers, hockey players and the women’s football team are part of the contingent along with coaches, physiotherapists and doctors.
Taking a fatherly approach to the young female rower standing in front of me I remind her to text home to let them know how things are going.
"Yeah, yeah, I will, I will", repeating a conversation we’ve each had, probably hundreds of times – and we have a good laugh at that.
I strike up football conversations with a few of the women’s football team (I’m able to mention NEYMAR!) and then their midfield playmaker oh so very sweetly hands her camera to a coach and asks if he would take our picture. That made my day.
Twitter quashed early rumours that Oscar Pistorius was in the group. He’s still at a training camp in Italy.
After the South Africans leave there is still a frisson of excitement lingering. It’s a happy, hopeful feeling, but I’ll bet underneath all the joy and relaxed confidence, that these athletes, they’ll be as hard as nails. No question.
Seven days to the Opening Ceremony and the place is buzzing.
So far the accreditation system seems to be working well and that is due in no small measure to the highly motivated LOCOG managers who are also able to resolve difficult issues with the Border Agency brilliantly – they can help those members of the Olympic Family who arrive without their Pre-Validation Certificate. I’m very impressed with their diplomatic skills.
This Olympic Family ideal, it’s there. It’s real. It’s tangible. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, heard it with my own ears and I’ve shaken it with my own hand. Could humanity ask for anything more - the youth of the world coming together to compete to their utmost as one family? This is going to be exceptional. Totally
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