One Year On – Olympics 2012

This post has been a year in the making.

Why a year?  Well immediately following this we went to Cornwall on holiday and there were plenty of photos to edit and post and when I wasn’t on the beach, surfing, at Boardmasters, or editing photographs we were watching the second week of the Olympics.  Sometimes life just gets in the way, so I thought I would save this post for the anniversary in 2013.

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We were lucky enough to get three tickets in the first week to see the team sabre which was held at the Excel Centre in Docklands.  As Caroline isn’t particularly interested in fencing, Athletics & Equestrian events are more her thing, I took James and his friend Yuen.  Unfortunately as the event was at the Excel Centre we weren’t able to go into the Olympic Park (though we have visited it since – watch out for that on another post) so we went up to Stratford to soak up the atmosphere.  First at the viewing gallery that John Lewis had set up inside their Westfield Stratford City store, and then just outside the gates to the Olympic Park.

Olympic Park from the John Lewis viewing gallery

Olympic Park from the John Lewis viewing gallery

James & Yuen in the viewing gallery

James & Yuen in the viewing gallery

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Team GB in John Lewis

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There was a carnival atmosphere at all the venues, made in large part by the amazing Games Makers who gave up their time to make sure that everyone had a fantastic experience.

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One of the fantastic Games Makers

Many of the people arriving at the park were in national colours, draped in flags or team kit with friendly rivalries being acted out everywhere.

England vs France - Le Crunch!

England vs France – Le Crunch!

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GB Team Kit

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The Orange Man - a Dutch couple

The Orange Man – a very patriotic Dutch chap

As we headed in to the Excel there was a real sense of anticipation building, not least because one of the match ups we were going to see in the Team Sabre was the old grudge match of Russia vs USA.

Heading in to the Excel

Heading in to the Excel

The way the fencing was staged was superb.  There were 15,000 people trying view just four pistes and the organisers had worked extremely hard to ensure that we were all able to be involved in the action.  With large screens and concert type lighting they heightened the drama and enhanced the views without ruining this most refined of martial arts.

The pistes

The pistes

Now as I was using my M8 and it was relatively dark inside I was pushing against the limits of what I could achieve.  It isn’t the best in dark conditions and also using a rangefinder to take action photos at a long distance really isn’t easy.  I put my old 90mm Elmarit from the 1950’s on the M8 and worked  as best I could.  The only way I could really focus in on the action was to crop in from my final images.  It does mean that some of these photographs are grainy but it was the only way to reproduce those electric moments of touche.

USA (in the yellow stockings) vs Russia

USA (in the yellow stockings) vs Russia 1

USA vs Russia

USA vs Russia 2

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USA vs Russia 3

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This was probably a once in a lifetime experience for me at and the day did not disappoint.  In the same way the whole Olympic experience was outstanding.  London was transformed during those two weeks.  The capital was en fete in a way that you only see around major royal events but this seemed more inclusive with everyone talking about it even if they didn’t get tickets to this greatest of all sporting events.

The final image is that of a USA competitor leaving the piste after his match.  I hope this leaves you with fond memories of the greatest Olympics ever staged.

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