A RIPON landlady is heading for the experience of a lifetime as she prepares to take part in next year’s London Olympics.
Olympic super-fan Teresa Baier, 50, will mingle with athletes and witness events from inside the Games’ Aquatic Centre.
As landlady of the Black Swan pub in Ripon she is more used to life behind the bar than beside the pool, but is set to become be one of a select group of volunteers helping run events at the East London park, even though she suffers from a debilitating bone disease that leaves her in constant pain.
As a lifelong fan of the Games grandmother-of-three Teresa is thrilled to be playing her part, and as a keen swimmer herself is especially thrilled to find herself in the Aquatic Centre.
“When we won the 2012 games I was over the moon, and I felt I had to be there.
“My great ‘watching’ passion has to be the Olympic Games. It’s a total addiction. I’ve been known to book my two weeks summer holiday off work just to watch the Olympic Games.”
But for Teresa just watching events at this Olympiad was not going to be enough.
Soon after the announcement she found the official website and registered her interest in becoming a volunteer “Games Maker”. She has battled through extensive treatment for Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) - a painful condition similar to arthritis - to get her place at the Games.
After a three and a half years and a five-stage selection process, during which time she has had six operations on her knees, Teresa finally got confirmation of her place at the Games on September 24.
She will be one of 70,000 volunteers at the Games, and will spend the Olympics in the Aquatic Centre looking after the “Olympic and Paralympic family”.
“I think I will be like a tour guide, showing athletes and the people who come with them where to go, and helping on an information desk.”
Although the experience won’t start in earnest until training is announced in February next year, Teresa is determined that nothing will stop her taking part in her favourite sporting occasion.
Her husband and staff at the Black Swan will have to cope without her for a few weeks, she said, and she is confident that she can manage her pain well enough through the events.
“I am very excited about it. My two kids have been amazing, but my other half is a bit dubious because we work together running the pub and he is going to have to find some cover when I’m away!”