Looking back at 2012: Olympic and Paralympic Games in London
Guest writers Charles Nishikawa and Stuart Morishita-Dubois recall their experiences of London 2012


I was selected as a one of 70,000 Games Makers and was appointed as part of the Language Service Team in the ExCel Centre which hosted seven sports - table tennis, judo, wrestling, boxing, fencing, weightlifting and taekwondo. Our team had to cover all five arenas in ExCel, proving interpretation of about 20 languages mainly to Broadcast, News, Medical and Anti-doping Service functions. In my opinion, the Language Service was one of the most exciting Games Maker roles. It gave us lots of opportunities to speak directly with the athletes, watch the sport up close and even be on TV. However, running around the huge venue was not an easy task, with many high-pressure moments in after-match broadcast interviews, press conferences and even medical emergencies.
In addition to Japanese-English interpretation, I also had the responsibility of team leader for Asian languages (Chinese, Korean and Japanese). On the first day of the competition, we were thrown into a battlefield and had to make quick decisions to allocate resources where they were needed and motivate members to perform their best. In this sense, I was lucky to work with very good people, many of whom were still students but were widely praised by our broadcast colleagues. We were like a band of brothers and sisters.

My particular highlights were having my photograph taken with fellow-countryman Wrestling Gold Medalist, Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, and in September, marching with the Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the Team GB Parade through central London with fellow Games Makers. Everyone cheered, not only for the athletes but for us as well!

Meeting wrestling Gold Medalist, Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu

As Lord Sebastian Coe said at the closing ceremony – “When our time came, Britain, we did it right!” and I am sure our efforts made many new friends for Britain all over the world. I’m so proud to have been part of London 2012. It was a real honour to work with such motivated and talented Games Makers. Also a big hooray to the soldiers drafted in to help – true professionals.


Charles Nishikawa

Meeting the gold medal winning Japanese goalball team
I am a Police Officer with the British Transport Police in London. The summer of 2012 was the most challenging period of my career so far, but also the most enjoyable. London was exceptionally busy, especially the transport network; but there was a really positive vibe in the city and I feel honoured to have contributed towards ensuring the safety and security of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes and spectators.

My wife is Japanese and I am learning the Japanese language. The nature of my job gives me frequent opportunities to practise my language skills with Japanese visitors to London. Throughout the Olympics and Paralympics I spoke with Japanese athletes, coaches, spectators and TV crews.

During the Paralympics I was on duty at key stations around the Olympic Park and I was fortunate enough to meet the Japanese Goalball Team near Stratford Station on Friday 7 September, This was shortly after the team had won the Gold Medal in their final match against China. The team were in very high spirits, and I was able to practise my Japanese and congratulate the team on their success!

Stuart Morishita-Dubois