Our involvement with the Olympic Games began with the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. At the time, Professor Bill Weber, then Dean of the Graduate Division of Translation and Interpretation, had arranged an academic internship for 32 T&I students, thus making MIIS an “Official Supplier of Translation and Interpretation Services.” Students provided services in written translation of documents and simultaneous interpretation in English and French at the Main Press Center.
Ever since, Professor Weber has been involved with the Olympic language services and was chief interpreter at 14 of the last Summer and Winter Games.
Although Professor Weber has decided to retire from the Olympic scene after next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, after serving the Olympic Family for thirty two years, the MIIS tradition shall continue with Alexander Ponomarev (MACI 1997), who has been chosen as chief-interpreter for the Rio Games.
As has been the case in the past 34 years, many MIIS graduates will be on what has become known as the “Olympic Dream Team” of interpreters. We also expect to involve a large group of MIIS students to serve as language volunteers with limited interpreting duties in Rio as well.
Another MIIS graduate, Maureen Sweeney (IPA 1994) has also been involved as a key consultant for the International Olympic Committee with the local Organizing Committees, ever since the Atlanta Games in 1996. She continues to consult in the fields of language services, including language volunteers, as well as venue protocol. The latter includes all venue medal ceremonies, VIP seating and lounges, as well as checking on all participating nations’ flags and national anthems.