"I was holding up T&T sign in the opening ceremony and have fallen in love with everything about Trinidad and Tobago!" British student Amy Wicks wrote on Twitter on August 1. A few days before, as she led the T&T contingent into the Olympic Stadium on July 27, she knew very little about the country. Yet, as the Games drew to a close on Sunday, Wicks, 22, wrote: "Thank you Trinidad and Tobago for your kindness. I've had the most amazing experience of my life," and "Feel really really sad it's all over. I'll visit T&T as soon as I can!" Like many of the thousands of volunteers at the Olympic Games, Wicks had just wanted to get involved in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But it was after being selected at random to carry the T&T banner at the Opening Ceremony, she says, "it got really exciting." Her posts cheering on our athletes caught the attention of Trinis using the popular social networking site and she quickly found herself adopted as an "honorary Trini" by members of the online community. "I love this chick! She is a Trini to d bone. Love her Trini spirit!" one girl posted. "Give this girl a passport!" tweeted another, among hundreds of posts in which Wicks was tagged.
She was stunned by the Twitter response: "I never expected anything like that. Everyone's been so positive and lovely! I just decided to get fully into it and adopt 'my country' for the entire Games. I couldn't have asked for a better team to support!" Some of her friends, she says, weren't sure what to make of her new allegiance. "I guess I really should have been supporting Team GB!" she laughed, recalling how she was cheering on T&T's 4x400 relay athletes as they won the bronze medal at the expense of Great Britain. "My boyfriend was not very happy!" Wicks was also at the Olympic Stadium for the women's 4x100m semi-final, posting afterwards: "In the Olympic Stadium...just watched the incredible T&T Ladies STORM through to the final!!!!!!!!!!!!" And for the 100m men's final, Amy travelled to the Olympic Park looking for Trinis. "In the end, I found this one woman with a T&T flag and we shouted our lungs out at the big screen!"
Although Wicks didn't get to interact with the T&T athletes on opening night, she says she only managed to exchange a quick hello with flag-bearer Marc Burns-her Twitter messages did catch the attention of several of the T&T stars, with Richard Thompson, Kelly-Ann Baptiste and George Bovell among those thanking her for her support.
Last Saturday, she made her way to the T&T Cultural Village in north west London where she mingled with other Trinidadians, drank her first Carib beer, sampled a roti, met T&T High Commissioner Garvin Nicholas, and attended a Machel Montano concert. Kershon Walcott had earlier won gold for T&T, and Wicks joined in the celebratory mood, jumping and waving with the largely Trini crowd and even trying to make her way to the front of the stage to fully soak up the party atmosphere. That experience, she says, has left her wanting to explore even more of T&T culture. A visit to the country is definitely on the cards at some point, once she's finished her studies towards a Masters degree in Theatre Direction, she insisted: "Everyone's telling me about the carnival and how amazing it is! I'd love to see that." The next evening, Wicks was once again on T&T duty, this time with "the tremendous honour" of carrying the T&T flag alongside Bovell at the Games' closing ceremony: "I would have loved to be going back to T&T with the team. I feel like I've been part of their Olympic journey. "I'm not even a Trini, yet I've felt so much love from everyone, I can only imagine what it will be like for the athletes when they get back!"