The Marietta resident volunteered in the Endurance Village, one of three athletic villages for athletes. The village is located at the highest elevation and serves biathlon (cross country skiing and rifle shooting) and alpine skiing athletes.
“My experience in Russia showed me just how similar people really are. When you get down to it, the desire for peace is universal, regardless of race, culture, religion, etc. This is the real value of what the Olympics has given to me, and you could see it in the many faces of the people around me,” said Hall, an engineer for the Weather Channel. He and his wife, Mary, have a son, 12-year-old Joseph.
Hall who worked for the Olympic Committee in 1996 Olympics in Atlanta at the Atlanta Athletic Village at Georgia Tech said, “I always wanted to give back for what the Olympics had given to me.”
Hall established many relationships as a result of his 1996 experience including meeting his wife. “It opened a lot of doors for me in the Atlanta area. It helped me career-wise and in a lot of ways. I wanted to give back to that. It was really good for me,” said Hall, whose interest in volunteering was sparked when a co-worker attended the 2012 games in London.
“He came back in June during the games. I saw him wearing his London 2012 shirt. Something changed in me immediately. I had always been thinking about (volunteering),” Hall said.
“At that point I got serious about donating time back and volunteering,” he said.
Once Hall’s employer gave his approval, Hall investigated the possibility. He submitted his application to be an international volunteer that included an extensive background check for security clearance.
“The application process took me quite a bit of time,” he said.
Hall estimated that less than 100 people were chosen from the U.S. to volunteer.
“The Sochi Olympic Committee of the Russian Federation had over 200,000 applications. It’s very significant,” he said.
Hall worked at the village in Guest Accreditation Services or Guest Pass Services assisting athletes and anyone from the Athlete’s National Olympic Committee with temporary accreditation for access to the village.
Hall was immersed in the Russian language and culture, going days without speaking English.
“Although I don’t speak Russian fluently I really did begin to understand it when it was spoken to me. People went out of their way to help me learn the Russian language,” he said.
“The team that I worked with was amazing. They worked very hard to make me feel at home and I really never felt like I was 6,000 miles away,” Hall said.
There may future Olympics for this gold medal volunteer. “They just had to go and do it in the closing ceremonies, ‘See you in Pyeongchang,’ that is. Now I’m going to have to learn Korean,” Hall said.