The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Layla Anna-Lee Headshot

How I Got My Job As A London 2012 Presenter

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

I feel so honoured to be part of the London 2012 Olympic Games and to have been chosen by Mr Danny Boyle to voice the ceremonies. However it wasn't without jumping through a few hoops... let's say five of them... that were on fire!

My Olympic Ceremonies journey began when, due to my experience in sports presenting, I was asked to host the London Prepares series of test events for the Olympics last summer. I hosted the Beach Volleyball and the Open Water Swimming event at Hyde Park and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Needless to say many presenters 'auditioned' during the London prepares events and I was not expecting a phone call back.

Already chuffed to pieces to have even been involved with the test events I was thrilled to receive a call offering not one but four official Olympic events to host.

I was to present the Beach Volleyball at Horse Guards Parade, the Mountain Biking at Hadliegh Park, the Road Race through London and the Cycling Time Trail in Hampton Court.

I started my research, told my family and close friends and signed all my contracts and accreditation. Then things changed.

My agent got a call from Danny Boyle's team saying they wanted to meet me. They didn't tell us what it was for or why but we guessed it was something to do with his ceremony.

The meeting was swift - Danny wasn't there but they made it pretty clear to my agent that they wanted me to voice the opening ceremony and needed to book me for over a month of rehearsals.

I had to walk away from four other Olympic Events that I was due to host.

It broke my heart to see an email from my agent Paul asking LOCOG kindly if I could stand down from hosting the Mountain Biking, the Road Cycling Race through London and the Cycling Time Trial. We also had to ask Cyclevox; the production company behind the SKY Sports cycling shows that I do each year, if I could stand down from the already contracted dates because the ceremonies rehearsals took over my diary.

All of this and I was still not guaranteed the job!

It felt like the biggest gamble ever and I was praying I wouldn't be left with nothing.

Thankfully our relationship with the companies was close and everyone was particularly understanding. No one wanted to deprive me of the chance of a lifetime and I am hugely grateful to Anthony at Cyclevox and Howie LOCOG for being honest and kind and allowing me to make such major changes to their schedules.

Amongst all this I flew to France for an intensive reminder language course. Although my French is fluent, it had been unpractised for many years and I needed to be perfect. Upon my return I was pulled into the studio for a flash French test - I passed - but by the skin of my teeth and we were mostly concerned about any last minute emergency translations. At the end of the day my French was not good enough to give improvised emergency evacuation procedures and we had to find a French co-host... fast.

We knew we needed someone whose mother tongue was French to compliment my voice and we needed to do this before Danny found another bi-lingual host altogether.

Everyone in the Red24 team (my agency) got together and they hastily found Marc Edwards, a French news presenter - but he was already signed to another agency which could have caused issues.

Good relationships and a wonderful opportunity saw everyone work together. Both Marc and I met with Danny for a final casting and finally he was a happy man - We got the gig!

I really felt the spirit of Londoners working together to make the best possible Olympic games for our country. It's all a team effort. I'm touched, proud and very lucky it all worked out.

Around the Web

London 2012: Updating Missy Franklin's Latest Action

London 2012: Jordyn Wieber Victim of Ridiculous Rule

London 2012 diving: China takes gold, USA silver in 3-meter synchronized

Highlights Of Monday's Events From The London 2012 Olympics