Behind the Scenes of Sporting Events

Gallowglass event crew behind the scenes of sporting events

The global sporting calendar includes some of the most anticipated landmarks of the year. Gripping nations worldwide, these events, from boxing and tennis to rugby and football, attract millions of viewers and have the potential to be spoken about for years to come. Our event crew members here at Gallowglass are fortunate enough to have been involved in installing the infrastructure supporting some of the most significant events in the sector. Here is a look at some of the projects that we have been involved in over the years.

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

After being contracted by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic games, our team were involved in the installation of apparatus at all the major sporting venues used over the course of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We worked across a variety of different areas, including laying equestrian flooring, decking at Greenwich Park, providing temporary overlay, including marquees and seating, as well as positioning the branding at key London sites and in other parts of the country.

With over 10,000 participants taking part in the Olympics, Gallowglass were also involved in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the event. The Opening Ceremony took place in front of a live audience of 80,000, with a further one billion television viewers.

Nick Grecian, Managing Director of the Gallowglass Group, spoke of his time at the Olympics and how it has positively impacted the company: “Our Olympics involvement has given us a greater profile and visibility overseas. The experience of working on such a global sporting event has given us the authority to influence people at a higher level; we’ve since gone on to work on other major international sporting events.”

British Gymnastics iPro World Cup of Gymnastics 2017

The 2017 iPro World Cup of Gymnastics took place at The O2 on Saturday, April 8th. Broadcast live on Sky Sports Mix, eight nations joined the talented Team GB to compete in the prestigious, ’all-rounder’ competition, showcasing their talents on six different pieces of apparatus.

Given only two days to create the event’s stage, and just one day to de-rig, Gallowglass brought a crew of 68 to The O2, working for a total of 440 hours to complete the build in time. Using stacks of flooring, the team constructed a raised platform for the gymnasts to compete on, with 400 kg weights used to keep the decks in place.

On Day Two, 22 crew members returned to the site to apply the finishing touches, preparing the arena for the next event. After placing the floor, laying the carpets and testing the equipment, The O2 was fully prepped for the British Gymnastics iPro World Cup of Gymnastics 2017 to take place.

2002 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

Gallowglass Group Chairman Paul Grecian says that one of his most memorable experiences in the company’s 21-year lifetime was the 2002 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

For the event, held in Manchester, Gallowglass provided 130 crew members, led by a dozen Crew Chiefs to deliver various tasks. For many of the Crew Chiefs, the Opening Ceremony would be their final act in a Gallowglass T-shirt. They would be returning home to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe or elsewhere - to re-join the family business in some cases, or spend the rest of their working lives fixing cars, behind the counter of the family grocery or even practicing as a small town lawyer in the Transvaal.

Remembering his time with the crew, minutes before the ceremony began, Paul said: “I left the Production Office where the atmosphere was electric, and you could cut the tension with a knife, and I wandered outside to see where our guys were. Even though they were about to step out in front of 40,000 people in the stadium and a television audience of half a billion people, the crew were making final adjustments to their footwear and clothing and the Crew Chiefs were utterly chilled, sipping from bottles of water and chatting quietly. As I looked at these boys, I knew that for many of them the next 60-90 minutes would be a pivotal moment in their lives and one that they would remember on their death beds. They would never again feel the adrenaline surging as it would that night as they experienced being in the core of something of global significance.”

Rugby World Cup 2015

Sometimes, we are called-in at the last-minute to rescue or complete jobs that are running dangerously behind schedule. Our involvement in the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Rugby World Cup is a prime example. Bound by rigid time frames for the Ceremony, the organisers were facing extortionately high penalties if they failed to keep to the time constraints. Just 48 hours before the event was set to take place, the tournament’s organisers realised that they were going to need an injection of expertise to ensure the event ran to schedule.

After being approached for the job, we sent a handful of Crew Chiefs and senior crew members to Twickenham Stadium. Our task was to ensure that the pitch was cleared of props and technical kit leaving the ground in pristine condition for the start of the first match. Although the previously-contracted crewing company had consistently failed during practice exercises to achieve this within the strict timeframe, Gallowglass pulled it off in just over ten minutes – a stunning feat recorded in several national newspapers!

We’ve been involved in a number of other world-class sporting events, including the Anthony Joshua v Carlos Takam fight at the Principality Stadium. For this event, 154 Gallowglass crew members had 24 hours to lay Supatrak on top of a Terraplast Plus mesh to cover the entire pitch. This protected the ground while plant machinery, trucks and 70,000 spectators who took to the pitch over the course of the day. A few other stand-out sporting events that we have worked on include the Tour of Britain and the UEFA Euro 2016.

If you’re looking for a rewarding career that gives you the chance to work on once-in-a-lifetime spectaculars such as these, then why not get in contact today? Whether you’re looking for event crew jobs in London, Manchester, or at another location in the UK, and think you’ve got the essential determination and dedication, then contact Gallowglass for more details!

About the author

Chairman, Gallowglass Group

Paul co-founded Gallowglass 21 years ago and has since expanded a single crewing operation into an international group of companies offering a complete range of support services for the events and entertainment industries.  His key input is to identify innovations and avenues for growth, and the wherewithal to broaden the Group's offering around the world.

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