WHISTLER, BC – FEBRUARY 19: Amy Williams of Great Britain and Northern Ireland celebrates winning the gold medal as she crosses the finish line during the women’s skeleton fourth heat on day 8 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 19, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. (Photo by Donald Miralle)
Sorry for going dark for a little bit there…After crashing at about 4 am after a long Day 7, when my alarm went off at 6am I hit snooze about 5 times and then decided to skip the Men’s Super-G. After waking up at about 11:30, I decided to take the day off. There are certain times during the Olympics, usually for me about the midway point, that your body and mind hit a wall and it’s best to rest. When you get to the midway point it is also a good time to reflect on the Olympic experience, look back at the photos you made, ones you want to work on, and refocus for the home stretch. As one photographer and good friend put it, I had an open brief on this one and could shoot whatever I wanted; while he had assignments that took him away from shooting “art” but game him some focus. I thought if I had assignments as I had in the past Olympics whether or not I would shoot any differently, and I don’t think I would.
After taking most of the morning off, I decided to catch up on some things. First off I needed to do expenses from the Super Bowl and other things that were way overdue. Then I needed to finish up the online judging for the National Press Photographers Association Best of Photojournalism Contest. I was honored and excited that the NPPA had once again chesen me to be one of their judges; but I had fallen behind on the judging schedule due to the hectic Olympic schedule, and this break helped me get through a couple thousand images and get up to speed. We had a couple more rounds to take care of online, before we did the final judging in Florida a couple weeks after the Olympics finished. From what I saw in the catagories I was assigned to, there were some strong images entered in this year’s contest.
By the time the sun started to set, I was feeling guilty that not only had I not had a breath of fresh air all day, but I also had not taken a frame and I was covering an Olympics. This was not acceptable behavior, especially since it wasn’t technically the hump day yet, so I put on my warm clothes grabbed a couple cameras and headed up the gondola to the sliding venue to shoot the Women’s skeleton final.
From what I had seen of the course already and what was rumored from other photographers, there were many logistical problems with shooting there. Not only were there a lack of photo positions in comparison to past sliding venues, but the finish line which could have been a nice shot, was marred by the fact that not enough space or even a proper set of risers was placed at the end of the track. Because of this it was a free for all for 25-30 photogs all trying to shoot over each others shoulders with not enough elevation change to do so. In the end I was just happy to be there for history when of Britain captured the first Winter Olympic Gold Medal for her country in 30 years! The union jacks were flying and the pubs were full for sure in the UK, and I shot about 30 frames of the event and left to go back down the hill and have some sushi with friends.
And I apologize if I haven’t done the best job answering all you individual comments and just wanted to give a quick thanks to all of you who have been reading this, supporting this endeavor with words of support and praise. You don’t know how much it helps me get through the day knowing you all look at my photos, read my stories, and appreciate the experience out here.