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SLIDESHOW - Long ride home for volunteer at Winter Olympics

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 28, 2014

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HIS journey home may have resembled a scene from the hit film Planes, Trains and Automobiles but winter Olympic volunteer Ian Wildgust would not have changed any of it.

The 38-year-old, from Leicester Street, Burton, took time out from his job as a business consultant for Hewlett Packard to head to Sochi, in Russia, to help out at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Now, following a mammoth 25-hour journey home which included a meeting with the Russian Olympic team, Mr Wildgust has talked to the Mail about his experiences.

He said: “It was an incredible and unforgettable time that has left me with so many memories.

“I was part of the events services team and I was based at the Laura Cross-country Ski and Biathlon Centre, which was right at the top of a mountain.

“I was mainly meeting and greeting people, helping with security and directing athletes to where they needed to be.”

This came less than two years after Mr Wildgust volunteered at the London 2012 Olympics.

After enjoying his time at the event, he decided to throw his hat into ring for the winter equivalent and, before he knew it, he was on a plane to Russia.

He added: “There were a lot of people sceptical about what it would be like in Russia but I am pleased to say I met people who were friendly, welcoming and very nice.

“One of the standout moments for me was that I got to see Lizzy Yarnold win a gold medal in the skelton event, which was just brilliant.

“I also got to meet so many people from all over the globe - it could not have gone any better.”

However, after weeks of snow and ice, Mr Wildgust faced a rather interesting trip home.

He said: “Well it involved a taxi ride to the airport where I was greeted by the Russian nation squad.

“This mean it was very chaotic and not helped by the fact that the Russian national anthem kept being played every 15 minutes .

“I then had to take a flight to Moscow and then faced a 10 hour stopover.

“I then jumped on another flight to Amsterdam to Birmingham before taking a train back home to Burton.

“All in all it was a journey of more than 25 hours to get back home but it was worth it all to be part of the Winter Olympics.”

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