Applications open for 70,000 Olympic volunteers

London: Olympic organisers are looking for 70,000 volunteers for the 2012 London Games.

The organising committee opens applications for its "Games Maker" volunteer program at 8 am.

"Volunteering with us will be challenging but the rewards are lifelong as our London 2012 Games Makers will literally make history happen," organising committee leader Sebastian Coe said.

The application process will close on October 27.

Two-thirds of volunteers will serve in "generalist" roles such as welcome desk staff, ticket checkers, drivers and stewards.

The initial volunteer program was launched on July 27, marking the two-years-to-go date until the Olympics. That recruitment was for "specialist" volunteers in sports, medical, anti-doping and press operations. So far, 8,000 applications -- about half the number required -- have been received.

Among those promoting the recruitment campaign is Amy Williams, who won a gold medal for Britain in skeleton at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"The thing about the volunteers in Vancouver is that they were always smiling and helpful and enthusiastic about the job," she said. "It was really clear that they were proud to be there and to be part of the Olympics.”

"I cannot see why we cannot do that. We are quite a friendly bunch and I think that the excitement from now on will be building."

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old on January 1, 2012. They must be available for a minimum of 10 days during either the Olympics or Paralympics and for at least three days of training.

A separate search for 1,500 volunteers under 18 will be unveiled in July 2011.

In addition, London Mayor Boris Johnson is recruiting 8,000 local volunteers to help visitors get around the city during the games.