Survivors Speak OUT’s Kolbassia is Olympics ‘Unsung Hero’
As London prepares to host the world's largest sporting event, Survivors Speak OUT network co-ordinator Kolbassia explains why he has given up his time to be an Olympics volunteer and what it was like to feature in a major poster campaign on the London Underground.
When London was chosen as the host city for 2012 I was really excited because I didn't have the opportunity in my home country to be in a city where there would be a major tournament taking place. I thought it would be a dream to be part of it and I wanted to be able to say that I was one of the people who did something towards this massive event."
For that reason Kolbassia was quick to volunteer as a 'Trailblazer' (the pre-Games volunteers based at the London 2012 offices) and has spent much of his time over the last three years helping London prepare for what the Prime Minister this week dubbed 'the greatest show on earth'. And, as competition begins in the Basketball Arena, sports-mad Kolbassia will be there giving up yet more of his time to ensure everything is in place for the players, officials and public to enjoy the matches.
I'm really excited – I love sport. During the last Olympics I watched everything – cycling, boxing, rowing – whatever I could!
"It's not just the sport either – it's the festivities around the city as well. I'm really looking forward to seeing all of those people in different costumes – people coming just for the celebration and to be part of a big moment in history."
Last month – as part of Refugee Week 2012 – Kolbassia had a taste of the limelight usually reserved for the sport stars who are in London bidding for Olympic glory. Alongside three fellow 'Unsung Heroes', Kolbassia appeared on posters in over 50 London Underground stations, celebrating the contribution that refugees make – not only to the Olympics – but also to their communities around the UK.
I agreed to be involved in the poster campaign because it was important to me that I helped to show people the positive role that refugees play in UK society. Seeing myself on the poster helped me take a step back and think about how much I've accomplished in the last few years – I'm more successful now than I ever could have imagined.
"I woke up early one morning and had a text message from a friend of mine who had spotted me on the poster – she said that I was a true hero, which was a very proud moment for me."
As well as working hard during London 2012 to make the games a success, Kolbassia will also be following the different events closely and – after celebrating British citizenship in 2010 – there's no doubt he'll be supporting Team GB all the way.
Every time England or Great Britain takes part in something I'm always supporting them. My dream is for us to beat our medal total in 2008.
"There are individuals who I'd like to see excel as well. Sir Chris Hoy is somebody who really inspires me. I met him at the event which marked two years to go until the London Olympics and he was a real gentleman."
To find out more about the Survivors Speak OUT network click here.