Meet Mrs Mop

Preston student Jenny Salisbury at the Olympic Games this summer
Preston student Jenny Salisbury at the Olympic Games this summer
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There can’t be too many occasions when a person has found themselves ‘living the dream’ while mopping the floor.

But that was certainly the case for Olympic Games Maker Jenny Salisbury, who is from Preston.

The Durham University student, who is studying German and Russian, applied to act as a volunteer at the London Games.

And she was thrilled to find out that she had been chosen to work at the Wembley Arena during the badminton competition where she would be part of the ‘field of play team’.

Her main task was ensuring the courts were kept in a playable condition.

So it meant that during every break in play, she would run on to court with a mop in hand to clean up all the sweat of the players.

Hardly the most glamorous of jobs, but for county-standard badminton player Salisbury, it was a dream come true.

“Because of the way the shuttlecock plays, you can’t have any air conditioning in the arena,” she said.

“So it means there’s a lot of sweat on the court and it was my job to mop it up.”

While her official role was somewhat of a dirty job, there were a few perks for the 19-year-old.

She had one of the best seats in the house and got to see some of the world’s best badminton players in action at close quarters.

She was also on duty when the match fixing scandal took place which rocked the Games.

Four sets of ladies’ doubles pairs, from China, Indonesia and two from South Korea, were expelled from the Olympics after being charged with attempting to throw their matches so that they could secure a more favourable quarter-final draw.

Salisbury said:“I was on the court next to one of the games where the match-fixing scandal happened.

“I had just finished my shift and because we are classed as technicians, we got to sit in the same stand as the players and coaches

“I was watching one of the games which got fixed. They played eight points, got to 4-4 in the score, but they had done nothing but serve into the net.

“The crowd started booing, but at the time we did not really know what was going on.”

Salisbury was prevented from mopping the courts in any of the finals because she was too a month.

One of the Olympic movement’s mantras was only to allow young Games Makers to work in gold medal matches in order to inspire the next generation of sportsmen and women.

“I missed out on the age cut-off but I did the semi-finals,” she added. As well as participating in the badminton event, Salisbury also watched the road cycling races and the triathlon as a spectator.

She also managed to win a ticket for Team GB’s Olympic parade and had a front row seat in the Mall.

She said: “The flat I was staying at in London was on the cycle route. So I watched the men’s and women’s races and got to see Bradley Wiggins.

“I also went to watch the triathlon and saw the Brownlee brothers win gold and bronze.

“That was good because I got to hear something other than China’s national anthem, because that is basically all I heard during the badminton!”

Salisbury, who attended Penwortham Girls’ High School and Runshaw College, is a former British Colleges’ Badminton singles champion.

She is the current captain of her university team and is planning on volunteering for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and is also hoping to help out at a international match in Birmingham, in March.

Salisbury first took up the sport after attending the badminton at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

She believes that her Olympic experience will only benefit her own career as a player.

She said: “One of the interesting things about the Olympics was that we were situated in between the coaches during matches and, because I study languages, I could understand a lot what of they were saying.

“It was interesting to see how the players were playing and then what the coaches were saying to them.”