Tag Archives: London Olympic 2012 Photography

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

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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

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