Today ended up being a pretty easy day – at least for work. My painful cough woke me up after only three hours of sleep and was pretty nasty for quite some time. But I will say that tonight it’s finally starting to feel better. I guess the antibiotics are working and I’m ready to crash soon!
I had the best meal of the trip so far – went to a place called Wagamama next to the North Greenwich Arena – a Japanese restaurant – with John Leyba. I had some chicken teriyaki meal that was quite tasty – John said the same about his steak teriyaki.
Today was Women’s gymnastics team finals – just like the Men, the Women led the prelims – so I was hoping that they’d do well. We had the gymnastic trials in San Jose his past month – that’s the competition where they decide who will go to the Olympics. I was only able to shoot one day of that but I do really like covering gymnastics. The last few Olympics I’ve had to cover it from an elevated photo location because the being on the floor was ticketed. But both Men and Women were not ticketed. Got down to the floor an hour early and was surprised to see that it was empty:
It did fill up – but no where near what I thought it would. Typically the Women’s comp is more popular than the men… tonight was the opposite, perhaps a lot of people were at swimming for Phelps. Typically swimming prelims are in the morning and finals are in the evening. In Beijing NBC decided they wanted prelims in the evening and have the finals in the morning – so that it would be prime-time for the States. And I actually liked that – we’d shoot swimming in the morning and then have the evening to shoot whatever we wanted. We could easily cover three to four events. But with swimming in the evening now we have to chose what to cover a lot more carefully. But it did make for super long days because we’d be at swimming super early and have assignments late. Today gymnastics was at 4:30 – so I got to the arena around 1:30. There was a morning fencing assignment but Karl was able to do that so I figured I should use the time to rest. Gymnastics ended around 6:30 – but then there was the medal ceremony and stuff like that that ended up another 30+ minutes. Most of the other events started around 7:30, there were no late starts like last nights beach volleyball which started late at 11:20 (was supposed to start at 11). I could have jammed out of there right afterwards but instead decided to edit and then find a decent place for dinner (which we found). So a short day – like 9 hours – almost normal hours.
There were (and overall there actually are) a handful of US newspaper photographers out here. Pretty sad – was going through the papers with Brian Peterson (from Minneapolis Star Tribune) – who would normally be here but were not. Don’t want to out them… but lets just say there were a lot.
Anyway, there were actually fewer photographers than yesterday for the Men’s comp, so it was pretty easy to move around. The only issue was TV – of course – around the uneven bars I counted 17 television cameras! That’s pretty insane – that doesn’t count the overhead video cameras either. Pretty amazing. But the US started super strong on the vault and never looked back – read the story by Mark Purdy and see pictures by me here:
Here is Wally Skalij from the LA Times checking out the balance beam shooting spot. The photo marshal would not allow us to put our hands on the ledge! (?) As you can see Wally is breaking the rules:
It was really cool to see them win gold – after the vault it never really seemed like it was close. And then Russia didn’t do to well on the final event – the floor exercise – so that pretty much clinched things. But jube – aka jubilation – was difficult not only a ton of TV cameras but also a ton of still cameras (they were “pool” members – which meant they get special access). I decided to go to a position where most people weren’t and hope I could get something. I missed the initial reaction to the gymnast finishing because of all of the TV and still cameras but was able to get some reaction once their final score was announced – about five minutes later. Here is the media work room:
Afterwards heard that Phelps won a couple more medals to make him the most successful medalist in Olympic history – would have been cool to see that but that’s okay – can’t be in two places at once – and I think I shot 8 or 9 of those 19 medals he has won. Pretty amazing though.
Once we were done transmitting and so forth it was close to 10 – lucky for us the restaurant stays open until 11 so we were able to grab some filling, good food. I headed back to my room and go in at a respectable time of 11:30. Hope to be asleep by 1.