The 2012 Olympics, some thoughts

Now sitting down in the Devon countryside I can finally reflect on the previous two action packed weeks that were the 2012 London Olympic Games, and what a fortnight they were !
Although I've dabbled in "Sports Photography" in the past, merely brushing the surface covering the Ryder Cup and Wimbledon I really hadn't a clue how I would fare being thrown into a world which was completely alien to me . I looked up sports photographers blogs, checked out agent galleries of previous games and quizzed the very few sports photographers I know about what to expect, but there was really no way to prepare for what I was about to be confronted with .

On most days I would cover an average of 2-3 different events mostly for the first and last time without a clue what was going on in front of me having not followed any kind of sport since I left secondary school . My peers would often have bemused looks on their faces when I'd ask them yet again what was going on, I once (and even I knew it was a pretty stupid question) asked whether all races on the athletics track finished on the same Finish Line .

The days were incredibly long, I would leave home in west London between 6 and 7am every morning and usually get home well after midnight . I travelled between the venues around London on the incredibly well organised media bus system which was based in Russell Square where most members of the worlds press had booked hotels .

 Photographers all had to wear special vests at the games, like the ones they used to wear in the eighties with lots of pockets which are now terribly out of fashion . The "Pool" agency guys wore Blue and this would on occasion grant them access to the inside track positions for instance at the track and field and track cycling events or head on positions for the swimming which would enable them to shoot images more freely and comfortably, from angles the rest of us in our Tan vests could never shot from . There were also cameras mounted high above which were remotely controlled by joystick and others on the bottom of the swimming and diving pools which gave incredible views of sport that are rarely otherwise seen .

I would often look on jealously at the others in Blue as they worked from their privileged positions but to be honest some of the best work I've seen were taken from spots anyone with enough planning, initiative and talent could have taken, whether it was the image of an ecstatic Mo Farah crossing the finish line or Bradley Wiggins racing past a pub full of cheering fans in Middlesex . Ultimately there were beautiful images to be potentially taken by all .

The atmosphere during the Games were absolutely incredible, whether covering the Hockey, Athletics, Track Cycling or Fencing the sense of passion and euphoria from the fans for their respective sports was fantastic . The thousands of volunteers working at the Games were on the whole a joy to deal with, the Venues fantastic, the Facilities brilliant, I honestly couldn't find a bad word to say about the Games if I tried . It was one of those times when I really felt proud of what our country had managed to achieve , and that's not even mentioning all those medals !

Renowned sports photographer Bob Martin and his team that ran the Photo Operations side of the Olympics did an incredible job planning positions and vantage points for photographers at all the venues during the Games and I owe a huge thanks to them as I do Frankie Jim at Canon UK for loaning me the extra kit I needed (long lenses and fisheyes) for the duration of the Games .

I do have regrets though, which may sound ridiculous considering how privileged I was to be able to have a free ringside seat at any event of my choosing for the Olympic fortnight . Having to move from one completely unfamiliar event to another I often found myself so focused on trying to get the "News" photographs nailed that I didn't find the time to just simply take "Pictures" and therefore some of the more creative shots I envisioned never came to be. In the last few days I began to wish that It would last just another week just so that I could revisit the glorious Velodrome, Athletics Stadium and Aquatics Centre to shoot those other angles that I never had the time to the first time round . Not to sure how the Athletes would have felt about that though !
Regardless, to have been there and witness the likes of Hoy, Daley, Ennis, Bolt and others fulfil their Olympic dreams is an experience I shall never forget and will cherish for a lifetime .

                 All Images ©Heathcliff O'Malley 2012 , All Rights Reserved, Reproduction Strictly Prohibited
                                                              In Any Format Without Prior Written Consent.


Anonymous said…
nice one mr o'malley - it's a blast isn't it: great frames, balanced piece - stick your hand up for the paras now - pix aplenty there!

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