Tag Archives: London

Champions League Final 2013 – Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich – When Germany Came to London

The Champions League Final 2013 was to be held at English Football’s home – Wembley, London – to mark the 150th anniversary of the English FA. The much anticipated finale was to be contested by Germany’s top two Bundesliga sides – Bayern Munich – last year’s runners-up and 4 times winner of the European Cup and Borussia Dortmund – winner of the 1997 Champions League.

After both sides comprehensively dumped Barcelona and Real Madrid out of the competition in the semi finals a few weeks ago, the power of football shifted from the domination of Spain’s La Liga in recent years – in particular, from Barcelona, who arguably fielded the best club team in the world when they won the Champions League in 2011 – to Germany.

Having lost two Champions League finals in three recent years, Bayern Munich were desperate to put to rest their losers tag against their fiercest rivals Borussia Dortmund. After Jurgen Klopp took charge in 2008, Borussia Dortmund have transformed from a club on the brink of bankruptcy, to a successful club that many will try to emulate over the coming years. Borussia’s thrifty transfer dealings, including the signing of new young superstars Lewandowski, Reus, Hummels and Götze, proved you don’t need to spend hundreds of millions on well known talent to succeed. They have also proved through their average squad age of 23 that true success can be achieved through focusing on the youth system.

The German fans turned up in London in their thousands with reportedly 20,000 of them arriving without tickets. London was covered in a sea of yellow and black of Borussia Dortmund throughout the day, dwarfing the small pockets of Bayern fans dotted around. Following the semi final victory over Real Madrid, Europe witnessed the overwhelming passion of Dortmund fans. The importance of the club to the Dortmund region is astronomical. Everybody from Dortmund grows up breathing and living Borussia. It’s a club that drives people on – something much more than just a hobby, but something engrained in the blood. And yet again, this passion could be seen on the streets of London.

We're Here - Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London - Piccadilly Circus, London

We’re Here – Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans with Fake Trophy in Piccadilly Circus, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans with Fake Trophy in Piccadilly Circus, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


BVB Flag Flying High - Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

BVB Flag Flying High – Borussia Dortmund Fans in Piccadilly Circus, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans Outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans Outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Kilted Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Kilted Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans Under Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans Under Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans Relaxing in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans Relaxing in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans Bearing Flag Under Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans Bearing Flag Under Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans Chanting Outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans Chanting Outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans meet Celtic Fans in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans meet Celtic Fans in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans Mixing with the Police in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans Mixing with the Police in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans in Song Under Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans in Song Under Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fans in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Bayern Munich Fans in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Bayern Munich Fans in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fan Doing Keepy Ups in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fan Doing Keepy Ups in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013


Borussia Dortmund Fan Composed in Trafalgar Square, London - Champions League Final Day 2013

Borussia Dortmund Fan Composed in Trafalgar Square, London – Champions League Final Day 2013

However, with all the excitement that Borussia Dortmund brought with them, it wasn’t to be their night against Bayern. After dominating territory in the first 25 minutes, the power, experience and class of Bayern proved to be too much for Klopp’s young side. Performances by both Neuer and Weidenfeller in Bayern and Borussia’s respective goals were outstanding, but either side of a Gundogan penalty for Dortmund, it was a Mandzukic goal and a dramatic late winner by Arjen Robben with just over a minute to go that sealed victory at Wembley and finally put to bed their losers tag. Bayern were once again Champions League winners.

Further Reading

 
Borussia Dortmund Site
http://www.bvb.de/

FC Bayern Munich Site
http://www.fcbayern.telekom.de/en/news/start/index.php

UEFA Champions League Site
http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/index.html

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in Champions League, Football, Sport Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012

As the curtain comes down on the London Olympics 2012, the nation can stand proud after its remarkable achievements over the past fortnight. Not only has it arguably delivered the best games in history, but Britain also boasted one of its best ever medal tallies with 29 golds, 17 silvers and 19 bronze medals. One of the most historical triumphs was on Saturday 4th August when Britain topped the Athletics medal table with an incredible treble Gold winning performance in the space of an hour – the best the country has ever performed in one sitting at an Olympics. Jessica Ennis commanded the Women’s Heptathlon, Mo Farah dominated the Men’s 10km run and Greg Rutherford upset the field as he took Gold in the Long Jump with one leap to spare. This was Team GB kicking off the events in the Olympic Stadium with a bang. Earlier in the day before this amazing spectacle, I managed to catch the rather peculiar Men’s 20km Walk outside Buckingham Palace.

Firstly, I took a stroll through Central London to take in the atmosphere once more. After spending time on the South Bank, I walked over Waterloo Bridge to stop off in Trafalgar Square briefly before heading down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace.

Man With Teddy - Performers on the South Bank, London

Man With Teddy – Performers on the South Bank, London

The streets were packed as ever with supporters and tourists alike and it was nice to see the City at ease.

British Support in Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012

British Support in Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012


Team Switzerland - Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012

Team Switzerland – Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012


Team Canada - Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012

Team Canada – Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012


Team USA - Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012

Team USA – Trafalgar Square, London Olympics 2012

The Mall was lined with Union Flags, Olympic flags and crowds aplenty, leading right up to a barrier by Horse Guards Parade where the Beach Volleyball events took place. As The Mall was closed off, I had to duck up past the Institute of Contemporary Arts and head down Pall Mall to try to get to Buckingham Palace through Green Park.

Admiralty Arch - The Mall - London Olympics 2012

Admiralty Arch – The Mall – London Olympics 2012


The Mall - London Olympics 2012

The Mall – London Olympics 2012

En route, I had a chance to take a couple of beautiful photographs of the bottom of Regent’s Street, an empty Pall Mall (albeit it with black cabs still running) and an old Wine Merchants. A stunning cavalry horse also sauntered past in the opposite direction.

Lower Regent's Street - London Olympics 2012

Lower Regent’s Street – London Olympics 2012


Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd Winery - London

Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd Winery – London


Pall Mall - London Olympics 2012

Pall Mall – London Olympics 2012


Cavalry Stallion - London Olympics 2012

Cavalry Stallion – London Olympics 2012

Once inside Green Park, I headed towards the outskirts of Buckingham Palace to see what was going on. There were huge crowds amassed outside the Palace with the most diverse collection of people I had managed to bump into. The Mall was closed off for what I imagined was the previous week’s cycling events or an upcoming road race of some kind. As I strolled around mingling with the crowd, I still didn’t know what huge event was about to take place – the Marathon races weren’t scheduled until the final weekend and the cycling I thought had finished already. There were people huddled together from all corners of the world – from China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand to the African and South American nations. There were also large clusters of people from all over Europe including Spain and France in the West to hoards of Latvians and Slovaks from the East. Why were there so many nations here?

Spanish and Japanese Fans - London Olympics 2012

Spanish and Japanese Fans – London Olympics 2012


Chinese Fans - London Olympics 2012

Chinese Fans – London Olympics 2012


Two British Children Watching the Mens 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Two British Children Watching the Mens 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012

Then, an announcement was made – the 20km Men’s Walk would begin in 15 minutes. The Men’s 20km Walk! Outstanding! I’d never been so randomly excited in my life! Not only would I be able to see another Olympic Event, but I would get to see one of the strangest competitions. My enthusiasm was clearly shared with the thousands of people who gathered around The Mall – the bizarre event was accompanied by a similar vibe in the crowd. It was almost like the World Cup Final had come to town. People were just so eager for the event to get going. They were even chanting at each other in warm jest and joking around eccentrically. This was as big a spectacle as the Marathon would be.

Men's 20km Walk - The Mall, London Olympics 2012

Men’s 20km Walk – The Mall, London Olympics 2012

Eventually, after finding the best spot I could get in the middle of a cluster of photographers, the race kicked off. The crowd cheered in jubilation as the men powered their way round the first lap of 10, starting at The Mall, heading past the Victoria Memorial onto Constitution Hill and back round again.

Astonished Child Amongst The Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Astonished Child Amongst The Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012

And the race was one of the most painful I have seen. Not in terms of entertainment, but of physical pain. The walking race has to be one of the most unnatural of sports. It’s not only the pain of walking 20km at pace, but it’s also the mental stress put on the brain to prevent the body from naturally switching from a walk into a run. The fact the competitors are penalised every time both feet are lifted off the floor adds to this constant mental stress to make sure optimum speed is reached without breaking the rules. As everyone who has tried a fast paced walk, this makes the human body turn into a rigid state, almost semi paralysed as it starts to battle against the running stance. Watching the athletes evidently showed how traumatic it is. They would sweat buckets, more evidently it seemed than the Marathon runners. They would grit their teeth almost in need of a gum shield to prevent chapping away the tips. Even Japanese pace setter Yusuke Suzuki suffered from a stitch half way round and had to pull up briefly!

Ivan Trotsky and Yusuke Suzuki - Team Belarus and Japan - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Ivan Trotsky and Yusuke Suzuki – Team Belarus and Japan – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012

It was an amazing sight that lasted for around an hour and a quarter, the athletes walking round at an approximately hefty 12km/h pace. Most people run that on a treadmill and struggle! And it was understandable at the end of the race why there were so many Chinese spectators as Ding Chen strolled round to win the Gold with Zhen Wang taking the Bronze.

Yerko Araya and Adam Rutter - Team Chile and Australia - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Yerko Araya and Adam Rutter – Team Chile and Australia – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Predrag Filipovic - Team Serbia - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Predrag Filipovic – Team Serbia – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Middle of the Field - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Middle of the Field – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Joao Viera and Denis Simanovic - Team Portugal and Belarus - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Joao Viera and Denis Simanovic – Team Portugal and Belarus – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Grzegorz Sudol - Team Poland - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Grzegorz Sudol – Team Poland – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Ever Palma - Team Mexico - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Ever Palma – Team Mexico – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Ebrahim Rahimian - Team Iran - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Ebrahim Rahimian – Team Iran – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Eder Sanchez - Team Mexico - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Eder Sanchez – Team Mexico – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Arnis Rumbenieks - Team Latvia - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Arnis Rumbenieks – Team Latvia – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012


Ding Chen - Gold Medal Winner - Team China - Men's 20km Walk - London Olympics 2012

Ding Chen – Gold Medal Winner – Team China – Men’s 20km Walk – London Olympics 2012

Further Reading on London Olympics 2012

 
Official Site of the London Olympics 2012
http://www.london2012.com/

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in London Olympics 2012 Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A Day in the Olympic Park – London Olympics 2012

For months leading up to the start of the London Olympics, many British critics showed their usual bleak insolences that failure was on the horizon. The games would be no match to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and instead would simply be a huge stressful headache for Londoners and an economic flop. Many bleated of how it would be a pain in the backside to get to work or get on with their daily lives. Others just weren’t looking forward to the congestion of millions of tourists within the City. But after the fantastic opening ceremony just 11 days ago, all the negativity was instantly put to bed, replaced with a warm buzzing atmosphere and terrific optimism for what was to come.

Olympic Park Entrance - London 2012

Olympic Park Entrance – London 2012

So far Great Britain really has come up trumps, producing one of the most memorable games ever. Londoners in particular (since they are the most affected by the Games’ presence), have suddenly welcomed the competition with open arms, joining the international community and other UK residents by gathering in their thousands to events in the capital and across the country. Despairing daily news reports on recession pummelling the spirits of the average Briton over a number of years has given up its self-pitying wallowing on the front pages – the country has finally had a chance to relax, have fun, feel optimistic and humanise.

What I have seen and experienced over the past few days has been mesmerising, with London turning into a huge collective energetic community in a matter of days.

Demand for tickets has been through the roof which has meant getting your hands on them extremely difficult. Team GB has been performing spectacularly well since the start – collecting Gold Medals and World Record accolades across a broad spectrum of competitions and this has ignited the public into feverish action, doing whatever it takes to access the Olympic Park and witness history in the making.

Team GB Supporters - Olympic Park, London 2012

Team GB Supporters – Olympic Park, London 2012


The British Public - Olympic Park, London 2012

The British Public – Olympic Park, London 2012

Confidence within Team GB has been sky high which has been reflected in the amazing support of the British public. I was lucky enough last week to finally get my hands on the Women’s Basketball group games on the 5th day between Team GB-Russia and Australia-Brazil for a mere £20. Ok – so it’s not the daddy of Olympic events like the 100m sprint, but I felt fortunate for an opportunity to be able to see a live game and it also meant I got into the Park to take in the atmosphere.

Despite the typically British weather being overcast with sporadic showers occasionally dampening the show, the day was a proudly uplifting and resounding success. There was so much talk about whether London would be able to cope with the games coming to town, but if my experience was anything to go by, the Olympic organisers have considered and coordinated every detail to its minutiae – in short, they’ve absolutely nailed it. Getting into the Park was quick, easy and completely stress-free, starting with a leisurely ride up to Stratford on the Jubilee line from Waterloo. Once there, I needed to pick up my tickets from the collection points which I was anticipating to be a long wait. It in fact took me all of 10 minutes as the guys working in the booths were extremely helpful and speedy. That introduced me to the effervescently fun, friendly and helpful stewards that I would bump into throughout the whole day. Just like the public, these volunteers were completely absorbed in the games, excited and enthusiastic, and it was instantly infectious as it acted as a reminder when entering the Park that I had arrived to witness a damn good show. This hospitality, this generous welcome – made the feel and mood of the day even lighter and heady, it made my experience all that much better.

Olympic Stewards - Olympic Park, London 2012

Olympic Stewards – Olympic Park, London 2012

Equally, staff working in the most ridiculously largest and thus potentially most stressful McDonald’s in the world wore smiles – owned genuine grins – and were forthcoming with friendly tones and gestures – something of a a rarity when grabbing a Big Mac. The ironic sponsors of the games alone was something of a spectacle, the restaurant brimming with hundreds of people on two floors desperate to say they ate in the biggest store in the world, queues spilling out the doors for about 100 metres. It was crazy, but I guess just part of the experience, with international consumers safe in the knowledge of what food to expect – the only one predictability of their day.

The World's Biggest McDonald's - Olympic Park, London 2012

The World’s Biggest McDonald’s – Olympic Park, London 2012

Once inside the Park, the atmosphere was electric from start to finish with thousands of people from many different nations coming together to mingle, chat, sing and joke around. Strolling round the park was a pleasure, the exacting layout spot-on with easy access to the stadia and facilities.

Olympic Park Promenade, London 2012

Olympic Park Promenade, London 2012


Olympic Park Crowds - London 2012

Olympic Park Crowds – London 2012


Mass Crowds Outside Olympic Stadium, London 2012

Mass Crowds Outside Olympic Stadium, London 2012


Chinese Support - Olympic Park, London 2012

Chinese Support – Olympic Park, London 2012

The backdrop to the stadia was beautiful, with walkways set up alongside sweeping canals lined with flower beds depicting the best of the British countryside.

Olympic Stadium - View From the Canals - London 2012

Olympic Stadium – View From the Canals – London 2012


Olympic Stadium by the Flower Beds - London 2012

Olympic Stadium by the Flower Beds – London 2012


The Orbit - London Olympics 2012

The Orbit – London Olympics 2012

The stadia themselves were also spectacular, my particular favourite being the Riverside Stadium – host to the hockey and the Cycling Velodrome

Riverside Stadium - Olympic Park, London 2012

Riverside Stadium – Olympic Park, London 2012


Velodrome - Olympic Park, London 2012

Velodrome – Olympic Park, London 2012

The Basketball Arena was also a delight, representing a strange huge oblong shaped mattress!

Basketball Arena - Olympic Park, London 2012

Basketball Arena – Olympic Park, London 2012

The Copper Box and Aquatics Centre sat in front of the Olympic Stadium on their temporary foundations, apparently ready for flat packing and sent to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics.

Aquatics Centre by Night - Olympic Park - London Olympics 2012

Aquatics Centre by Night – Olympic Park – London Olympics 2012

After wandering around taking shots of the park, I headed over to the Basketball Arena in the afternoon to take my seat for the two games.

Whilst entertaining, it undoubtedly missed the speed and showboating slam dunks of the man’s game.

Inside the Basketball Arena - London Olympics 2012

Inside the Basketball Arena – London Olympics 2012


Flags Inside Basketball Arena - London Olympics 2012

Flags Inside Basketball Arena – London Olympics 2012

Australia against Brazil took a while to get going with the players constantly missing the simplest of tee-ups and two pointers.

Two Points - Australia vs Brazil - Basketball Arena - London Olympics 2012

Two Points – Australia vs Brazil – Basketball Arena – London Olympics 2012


Side Pass - Australia vs Brazil - Basketball Arena - London Olympics 2012

Side Pass – Australia vs Brazil – Basketball Arena – London Olympics 2012


Free Shot - Australia vs Brazil - Basketball Arena - London 2012

Free Shot – Australia vs Brazil – Basketball Arena – London 2012

The event burst into life when Team GB came out for the second game against a ruthlessly tall Russian side. Undeterred, Team GB, berated our presumptions to our surprise to take a 10-point lead within minutes. The competition on, it didn’t take long before Russia got into their stride, sinking three pointers for fun and ending up winning the game 67-61. Although basketball isn’t a big sport in the UK, the crowd got involved throughout both games, saving their biggest cheers for the GB girls.

Women's Basketball - Team GB vs Russia - Basketball Arena - London Olympics 2012

Women’s Basketball – Team GB vs Russia – Basketball Arena – London Olympics 2012


Tee Off - Team GB vs Russia - Basketball Arena - London Olympics 2012

Tee Off – Team GB vs Russia – Basketball Arena – London Olympics 2012


Defence vs Attack - Team GB vs Russia - Basketball Arena - London Olympics 2012

Defence vs Attack – Team GB vs Russia – Basketball Arena – London Olympics 2012

As the day progressed, the blue skies started to come out to paint a completely different picture of the dreary start to the day.

Olympic Stadium - London Olympics 2012

Olympic Stadium – London Olympics 2012

I spent the rest of the evening on the Park Live hills where the crowd rested and picnicced in their hundreds watching the day’s proceedings unfold.

Park Live Hills - Olympic Park, London Olympics 2012

Park Live Hills – Olympic Park, London Olympics 2012

Again, the atmosphere was buzzing which continued until the sun set behind the Riverside Stadium.

Olympic Stadium by Night - London Olympics 2012

Olympic Stadium by Night – London Olympics 2012

Relaxed and happy, I headed out to West Ham to catch the tube back home, the stewards still smiling cheerfully, asking how my day went and wishing me good night every 50 yards or so. It was definitely a proud moment to be British.

The games are clearly turning out to be a huge triumph both on and off the track and field and the resultant energy and emotions will hopefully transpire into a rejuvenation of public motivation and inspiration for generations to come. With less than a week to go, this will no doubt be one of the most notable of historic events for our country, and not just because of the impressive list of sporting firsts achieved. A positive message is beaming vibrantly across the world carried by the media and will be reinforced in time by the visitors and guests who will eventually return home. London is a jubilant and triumphant host and Britain really is well and truly Great.

Further Reading on London Olympics 2012

 
Official Site of the London Olympics 2012
http://www.london2012.com/

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in London Olympics 2012 Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Cycling Road Race – London Olympics 2012

The Olympic Games finally arrived in London on Friday 27th July 2012 after 8 years of preparation to a dazzling opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. After a 70-day long journey throughout the UK, the Olympic flame finally completed its journey at around midnight on the Saturday morning after passing through 8000 torchbearers. After missing out on seeing the flame on its circuit through Wandsworth in the week, I luckily had the opportunity to see the flame pass by on a small galleon ship on the River Thames on its penultimate journey to the Olympic stadium from Hampton Court to Tower Bridge. Hundreds of people had come out to see the once in a lifetime opportunity, although the boat whizzed by in a matter of seconds!

Olympic Flame Passes Down the Thames at Putney Bridge, London

Olympic Flame Passes Down the Thames at Putney Bridge, London

Strangely, the main torch at the bow of the galleon had blown out, with the torch bearer standing by it, holding up her torch high and proud.

One of the Eight Thousand Olympic Flame Torch Bearers

One of the Eight Thousand Olympic Flame Torch Bearers

The first weekend of events included one of the most exciting – the Cycling Road Race through London and the suburbs of Surrey, including Putney, Fulham, Richmond Park, Twickenham, Woking and Boxhill. The Men’s 250 km cycle race took part on the Saturday lasting around 6 hours, with the Women’s race on the Sunday, a slightly shorter 140km, 4 hour ride. What was most spectacular about this event was that it was the first time some of the busiest roads of London had completely shut down for the whole weekend, leaving the streets free for people to wander around at peace. It also gave me the opportunity to put my camera to work whilst soaking up the atmosphere of the hundreds of cheering fans in the streets. The party had well and truly arrived in London and it was great to see everybody out supporting Team GB. For once, London had the chance to come together as a community, with the crowds mingling and chatting amongst each other, all full of excitement and energy.

On the Saturday, I decided to head down to East Sheen with my friends Stu and Mike to watch the Men’s race pass-by on the corner of Priory Lane and Upper Richmond Road. Upon arrival, it was amazing to see the Upper Richmond Road completely empty of traffic, something we’ll probably never see again. But it didn’t take long for the calmness to turn into euphoria as the crowds lined the streets to greet the riders. Supporters had already been out the previous few days painting the roads in support of Team GB hopeful Mark Cavendish.

Corner of Priory Lane and Upper Richmond Road - East Sheen, London

Corner of Priory Lane and Upper Richmond Road – East Sheen, London

We decided to perch ourselves on the inside corner of Priory Lane with the expectation that the riders would have to slow down as they approached the Upper Richmond Road on a slight downhill 90 degree right turn. I’d set up my camera at a slightly higher shutter speed of 1/500 in the hope of capturing the riders in motion, but not completely stop time. It turned out that I completely failed to capture the riders slow down at all. To our astonishment, they instead roared passed us in a matter of milliseconds at relentless speeds just a foot or so away from the front of my lens. It was so quick, the whole event passed us by in under 10 seconds! We always knew that they were quick, but they must have taken the corner at 40 miles per hour on tyres that are only a few millimetres thick. The strange thing out of my initial disappointment at not taking the crispest photos, the images at least captured the surprising moment of pure pace – the backgrounds are all completely still in contrast to the blurred speeding riders.

Mark Cavendish - Team GB Men's Road Cyclist

Mark Cavendish – Team GB Men’s Road Cyclist


Bradley Wiggins - Team GB Men's Road Cyclist

Bradley Wiggins – Team GB Men’s Road Cyclist


Philippe Gilbert - Belgian Men's Road Cyclist

Philippe Gilbert – Belgian Men’s Road Cyclist


Martin Elmiger - Swiss Men's Road Cyclist

Martin Elmiger – Swiss Men’s Road Cyclist


Lars Boom - Dutch Men's Road Cyclist

Lars Boom – Dutch Men’s Road Cyclist


Andre Greipel - German Men's Road Cyclist

Andre Greipel – German Men’s Road Cyclist


Men's Cycle Road Race - London Olympics 2012

Men’s Cycle Road Race – London Olympics 2012

The Sunday saw the Women’s event also come to town and this time I headed into Putney High Street to take in the atmosphere. The day was marred by the changing weather conditions which ranged from torrential rain to bright sunny blue skies. This gave me the opportunity to capture some contrasting dramatic photographs of Putney High Street throughout the afternoon and of the race itself. The weather fortunately didn’t dampen the spirits of the people lining the streets or the amazing race that resulted in Team GB rider Lizzie Armitstead narrowly losing out to the powerful Marianne Vos of Holland.

Olympic 2012 Mascot - Putney, London

Olympic 2012 Mascot – Putney, London


Putney Exchange - London

Putney Exchange – London


Bottom of Putney High Street, London

Bottom of Putney High Street, London


Corner of Putney High Street and Upper Richmond Road - London

Corner of Putney High Street and Upper Richmond Road – London


The Railway Pub - Putney, London

The Railway Pub – Putney, London


Putney High Street, London

Putney High Street, London


Putney Train Station, London

Putney Train Station, London


Olympic 2012 - Road Cycle Race Circuit - Putney, London

Olympic 2012 – Road Cycle Race Circuit – Putney, London


Middle of Putney High Street, London

Middle of Putney High Street, London


Leading Pack at Women's Cycle Road Race - Putney, London Olympics 2012

Leading Pack at Women’s Cycle Road Race – Putney, London Olympics 2012


Peloton at Women's Cycle Road Race - Putney, London Olympics 2012

Peloton at Women’s Cycle Road Race – Putney, London Olympics 2012


Women's Cycle Road Race - Putney High Street, London

Women’s Cycle Road Race – Putney High Street, London


Wet Supporters - Olympics 2012

Wet Supporters – Olympics 2012


Trailing Riders - Women's Road Cycle Race - London Olympics 2012

Trailing Riders – Women’s Road Cycle Race – London Olympics 2012

Further Reading on London Olympics 2012

 
Official Site of the London Olympics 2012
http://www.london2012.com/

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in London Olympics 2012 Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |