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No Matter Where: Volunteering for the Olympic Games

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Every four years, the local organizing committee of either the summer or winter Olympics faces the challenge of recruiting and deploying thousands of volunteers in support of the massive event. And every four years, the committee seems to reinvent the system from scratch. Various news items have already surfaced about volunteering for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, and the 2012 Summer Games in London.  In this Points of View, Susan J. Ellis and Steve McCurley ponder what, if anything, is different about volunteer involvement and management for the Olympics as compared to any other volunteer activity. They also consider some of the philosophical/ethical issues emerging about the role of Olympic volunteering in different societies, and what this all might mean for the time between the Games.