Thursday

Thanks to Dan Wong for making a home for my panoramas:

http://www.mercurynews.com/olympics-panoramasGot a pretty decent amount of sleep last night – 7 hours – trying to get as much as I can before the Games actually start.  I decided to head to the gymnastics venue to do a couple of panoramas there and just to check out the venue.  It’s kinda close to the UEL – just take the DLR, Canning Town and transfer to the Jubilee to the Greenwich station.  What?  Translation – from the UEL (University of East London, where I’m staying) – I jumped on the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) to the Canning Town station where I transferred to the tube – the Jubilee line which dropped me off at the North Greenwich station. Gymnastics is being held at the North Greenwich Arena – which is actually the O2 – I guess music/arena venue.  I ran into Peter Reed Miller from Sports Illustrated in the hallway and we talked about the venue for a little bit.  Also saw Chang Lee from the NYT in the media center there.

Afterwards I jumped back on the Jubilee, transferred back at Canning Town and headed to ExCel.  ExCel is an interesting venue (don’t forget to look at the pano’s at the bottom) – basically just a huge, long space, kinda like a convention center broken up into a bunch of rooms on each side of a very long hallway.  But they are having seven events there – judo, taekwondo, wrestling, table tennis, boxing, weight lifting, and fencing.  When you walk into a room all you see is scaffolding – but then there care little entry points into the actual “field of play” as they like to call it.  The smart thing is that when they are done they just tear it down.  Instead of building a huge venue just for fencing – which would most likely not be used again.  Fencing venue:

Before I went in I ate at Fox Bar and Restaurant – it was okay – had some pasta.  They did confiscate my flash light which I forgot I had in my backpack because it also included a laser pointer … Guy was like – you can take it back to your hotel… Uh no.  So I decided to take a break in the fencing venue – which is kept quite dark.  I was seriously considering taking a nap – and was on my way when David Eulitt and Harry Walker from McLatchy walked in… We chatted for a bit.  So weird how you run into people.

They headed off for a meeting and I decided to check out downtown at least for a little bit before a party being held by Nikon.  Jumped back on the DLR to the Canning Town station and then took the Jubille down to the London Bridge station.  Wow it’s busy downtown!  I walked across the London Bridge – realizing what I really wanted to see was the Tower Bridge off in the distance… so after a short jaunt I made it down there.  I got to watch a cruise ship sail (? – float?) under the Tower Bridge – that was pretty neat – it went through backwards.

Some neat building:

Afterwards I walked a ways to the Tube – took a couple of subways to the Goodge station and then a short walk to the building the party was being held at.  Lots of Londoners reading the paper – yea:

Building Nikon party was held in:

I got there a little after 7, didn’t recognize anyone, was there for about 30 minutes and I was thinking of bailing but then started to run into some people I knew – first saw Wally Skalij from the LA Times, then Sara Moosbruger from Nikon, Elsa (from Getty – we went to college together!), Ezra, (Getty), John Leyba (Denver Post), Robert Beck (Sports Illustrated), Kojo Kinno (Becks assistant), David and Harry from earlier, gosh wow, I did see a lot of people I knew, Paul Kitagaki, Scott Mc Kiernan, John Mabanglo, Steve Dykes, Kyle Terada.  Also met a bunch of people – mostly foreigners but – Mike Powell and David Bergman seemed nice.

Why does Nikon throw a party – oh and by the way Canon had one at the same time, some people went to both.  Why do they throw a party?  I’m sure they have specific reasons, but for us, good PR for their product, gather lots of photographers together, and free schwag!  In Vancouver they had a joint Nikon/Canon party at the aquarium, which was amazing – but the schwag was a gigantic bag – and considering everyone had already lugged all of their stuff up in gigantic bags the last thing we needed was another big bag.  I gave that thing away that night.  This time Nikon had a sweet pair of binoculars and some other small stuff!  yea!  A Nikon bigwig address the crowd:

On the way out we ran into Smiley Pool from the Houston Chronicle.  He was heading in after checking out the Canon party – we were thinking of going there but heard they ran out of stuff.  As we were waiting for Smiley, Larry Smith (from EPA) walked out, we were standing in a group and someone, I think Wally, said – “thanks for saying hello” – and he says “oh I know you!” and shook hands, then he pointed towards me “I don’t know you” and then after a moments pause he says “WAIT – I do know you!”  It was pretty funny.  Always nice to be remembered.  Larry is a super nice guy, great shooter and totally reminds me of the dude from the Big Libowski.  A group of us decided to head to dinner and we made our way to Smiley’s hotel… had an interesting pizza:
Around midnight Karl and I headed back – just change from the Tube to the DLR – a nice lady from Kenya helped us navigate our way in-between.  Well next up is opening ceremony – oh boy!

Tower Bridge

Gymnastics venue outside

Gymnastics venue inside I

Gymnastics venue inside II

ExCel inside

ExCel outside

Table Tennis

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