By Duncan Mackay

Rio 2016 will offer many volunteers the one-in-a-lifetime chance to work at the Olympics and Paralympics ©Getty ImagesRio 2016 is due to open applications for its volunteer programme on August 28, the start of a process during which they will be looking for 70,000 people prepared to give up their free time to help them successfully deliver the first Olympics and Paralympics to be held in South America.

Volunteers have been integral to the success of the Olympic Games since they were first used on a significant scale during the 1948 Games in London, setting the template for the modern army of unpaid helpers.

Since then, volunteers have played an important and visible role at any major Games, including at London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

The main difference was, that in 1948, there was virtually no organised system of volunteering and those that involved mostly did on an ad hoc basis with no formal selection policy or any official recognition. 

The Los Angeles Games in 1984 was the first of the modern era to recognise the role formally, with almost 30,000 volunteers taking part. 

London 2012 Games Makers helped make the Olympics and Paralympics such a success ©Getty ImagesLondon 2012 Games Makers helped make the Olympics and Paralympics such a success ©Getty Images

There will be more than twice as many volunteers at Rio 2016 fulfilling an estimated 500 different roles, including a variety of medical roles, operation of the scoreboards, translation services and the control of access to restricted areas.

A selection process has already been put in place to whittle down all the applicants to a list of finalists. 

Rio 2016 plan to offer complimentary meals and travel while on official duty, as well as a uniform.

As applications are being sought from around the world, online language courses are available free to volunteers if necessary.

At the end of the Games, the volunteers will receive a commemorative certificate as a souvenir of the event and thanks for your effort.

But successful applicants will need to fund their own travel to and from Rio de Janeiro, as well as finding, and paying for, their own accommodation.

For more details, including on how to receive more information, click here

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