I had only been to the Olympic Park a couple of times – for the Opening Ceremonies, Curling, Short-Track and Speed Skating. Having said that, I never really got to see the Olympic Park at all. I was at the Main Media Center (MMC) and then on a bus to the venue. I figured going down for a Medal Ceremony would be the best chance possible.
Keeping in mind that it is never practical to have all of the event venues at the park, here we have a Mountain Cluster and a Coastal Cluster. I n the best of days, it took me about 1:15 to get form my apartment to the MMC and that would be if I got really lucky and the buses miraculously conformed to my schedule (I think that happened exactly once!) In general, I always allowed 2 hours and that was just to get to the MMC.
Although this may seem more typical for the Winter Olympics, in London the Triathlon Venue was nowhere near the Olympic Park, it was in Hyde Park! Sailing and Rowing were even farther away. I have heard that in Vancouver, all of the Media Housing was 3 hours from the Mountains. This didn’t make me feel any better, but just accept things as part of my daily routine.
Wednesday’s US performances included Ted Ligety’s Gold Medal and the Silver and Bronze by the Women’s Bobsleigh made Thursday night’s ceremony a good choice. After returning from the Extreme Park, I had just enough time to have a bite to eat (museli and yogurt) and go grab the bus first to the Gorki Media Center and then down to the MMC.
I traveled light only bringing one camera and a small one at that (5D Mark III) and 2 lens, it sort of felt like I was cheating. As it turned out when I arrived at the Photo Platform for the Medal Ceremony the 400 would have been more appropriate, but I made it work!
The Medal Ceremony actually started at 8:14 pm every evening (that would be 20:14!) but was preceded by a concert and entertainment that began at 7:00.
There was already a crowd of the usual suspects when I arrived at the Photo Platform and by this time, knew several of the guys from other events. It was crowded but we all made it work. In case you are wondering, all of those great head-on shots of the medalists are shot from positions that occupied by the IOC Photographers, Getty, AP, Reuters, Sports Illustrated and the other major services. They deserve that access because of their distribution and the pay a premium to get it too! The have dedicated Ethernet lines in these positions that the plug right into their cameras and beam their images back to their editors. After the medal presentations the athletes are escorted to a position where the other photographers can get their shots.
Here are a few celebrating smiling faces!
The Silver and Bronze Medalist for the Women’s Bobsleigh.
Giant Slalom Champ Ted Legity.
Norway’s XC Sprint Champions.
Norway’s Biathlon Mixed Relay Champions.