An estimated 500 members of the Church are working behing the scenes as administrators and volunteers at the XV Winter Olympic Games here, Feb. 13-28. Another LDS member is competing as a driver for the U.S. bobsled team.
John P. Livingstone, Calgary Alberta West Stake public communications director, said Church members are providing transportation, helping with security, hosting athletic delegations, working in food services and other areas, and singing and dancing in the opening and closing ceremonies."The number of Church members participating is amazing," said Pres. Lynn A. Rosenvall of the Calgary Alberta West Stake. "I keep learning about more. The LDS contributions has far exceeded our expectations."
Pres. Rosenvall said the city's 12,000 Church members constantly are looking for ways to participate in community projects. When the Olympique Calgary '88 Olympic Committee called for volunteers, Latter-day Saints from the city's four stakes reponded in large numbers.
"This is providing an ideal opportunity to be of service to the community," Pres. Rosenvall said.
The following are a few examples of how Latter-day Saints are involved in the Winter Olympics:
- Wayne Gedlaman, first counselor in the Calgary Alberta Stake presidency, took a leave of absence from the Broadcast Engineering department at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to work as one of three supervisors in the host network television master control center. The center supplies coverage of the events to television networks throughout the world. Pres. Gedlaman oversees the shooting, taping and transmission of all television coverage for the events at each of the 15 sites for the Games.
"Timing is down to the exact seconds, and getting the right shots from the right angles delivered to television networks is essential for each of the countries telecasting Olympic stories back to their domestic audiences," he said.
- Archie Evanson, gospel doctrine teacher in the Calgary 1st Ward, supervises security for the International Media Centre on the Calgary Sampede Grounds. A Realtor and former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, Evanson is working with 5,000 press representatives from throughout the world.
- Bishop William E. Payne is serving as general manager fo the Media Division for the Games. He also is the press secretary, conducting daily press conferences for the Games. Bishop Payne was reponsible for the construction and operation of the Main Press Centre, the area where press briefings are held. He also supervised the accreditation of press and network representatives and coordination of media services. A member of the Alberta Provincial Legislature, Bishop Payne's wife, Joan, also is involved, serving as an official driver for the Swedish National Olympic Committee.
- Brent Davis, a high priest in the Bow Valley Ward of the Calgary Alberta West Stake and a former bishop, is chairman of the Food Services Committee.
"My Service as a bishop has been extremely useful in orgainzing the Food Services Committee, he said. "Because of my Church experience, it was easier to ask people to serve and get commitments."
His task is a big one. To give some idea of the quantities of food involved, he related how the Games require 45 semi-truck trailer loads of milk, 4,000 beef cattle, and, for the hockey and figure skating arenas alone, 52,000 pounds of nachos chips. Davis is head of the food services at the University of Calgary.
- Sylvia Brown Perry of the Calgary Alberta South Stake directed three choirs during an inter-faith service Jan. 31. Many LDS youths sang in one of the choirs, a large children's choir. In addition, more than 40 full-time missionaries from the Canada Calgary Mission and recently returned missionaries from local stakes served as ushers at the interdenominational service. Many of the elders carried Olympic torches at the service.
- About 100 LDS youths are dancing and singing in the opening ceremonies Feb. 13 and closing ceremonies Feb. 28. Since October, they have spent hours practicing routins and songs.
- About 200 LDS volunteers are serving as drivers on the transportation committee. Games directors said the Latteer-day Saints were good candidates for driving assignments because of their Word of Wisdom standards, said Livingstone.
The lone Latter-day Saints known to be competing in the Games is Randy Will of the Endicott Ward, Ithica New York Stake. He joined the Church last July.