Tag Archives: Sports Photography

New Zealand Adventure Part Three – Franz Josef Glacier

After the heavy night of drinking at the Poo Party, Poncey had decided to get us all to Franz Josef as quickly as possible with only one quick stop for a bacon sandwich at the bizarre Bushman Centre. This was a museum that was full of dead stuffed animals that ended up as a pretty eerie stop off on a hang over. Once at Franz Josef, we checked into the amazing Rainforest Retreat Lodge which was beautifully hidden away at the mouth of the surrounding mountain ranges. Pauric, Lydia, Andy and me decided to head off for some Kayaking in the afternoon on Lake Mapouria which was the first time I’d done any proper kayaking for years. The scenery for it was breath-taking, with us taking a trip down some beautiful gorges and canals in the surrounding area.

Franz-Josef-Lake, New-Zealand

Franz Josef Lake – New Zealand


Kayaking-at-Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Kayaking at Franz Josef – New Zealand

The following day was, however, the main highlight of Franz Josef with the chance for us to go Ice Climbing on the famous glacier. I went against all photographer’s rules by leaving my SLR camera at home, fearing the worst of smashing the kit up into smithereens half way up, so all my moments were captured on my trusty old Canon Ixus 50.

The early morning start greeted us with some amazing cloud capped mountains withe the early morning sunshine peeking through.

Dawn, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Dawn – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand

After kitting up at the Ice Climbing centre, we took the minibus up to the base of the glaciers to start walking up through the lower rocky terrain. The views were remarkable as expected, with the huge glacier carving its way through the middle of the mountains. It was completely surreal seeing it – this huge glacier thousands of years old melting away right in front of us. What was strange is that it was relatively mild – we were kitted up for climbing the ice, but in reality, temperatures weren’t too low.

Bottom-of-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Bottom of Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


The-Walk-to-the-Glacier, Franz-Josef

The Walk to the Glacier – Franz Josef


Waterfalls-of-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Waterfalls of Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Me-at-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Me at Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Embarking-on-the-Glacier, Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Embarking on the Glacier – Franz Josef, New Zealand

As we began climbing the glacier, the fun really began as the group leaders started hacking away at the ice, building stairs and pathways through the encapsulating blue scenery. We faced huge dominating ice walls, dozens of water pools, loads of gushing ice cold water rivers and some ice tunnels carved out in beautiful glassy blue formations.

The-Face-of-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

The Face of Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Commencing-the-Climb-of-Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Commencing the Climb of Franz Josef – New Zealand


Onwards-and-Upwards, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Onwards and Upwards – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Franz-Josef-Valley. New-Zealand

Franz Josef Valley – New Zealand


Leaders, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Leaders – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Half-Way-up-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Half Way up Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Quick-Stop, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Quick Stop – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Steep-Climb, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Steep Climb – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Thumbs-Up, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Thumbs Up – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Up-Through-the-Glacier, Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Up Through the Glacier – Franz Josef, New Zealand


Keep-on-Moving, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Keep on Moving – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Jumping, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Jumping – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Aqua-Tunnel, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Aqua Tunnel – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Inside-the-Aqua-Tunnel, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Inside the Aqua Tunnel – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Jagged-Edges-of-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Jagged Edges of Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Building-Pathways, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Building Pathways, Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


A-View-of-the-Glacier, Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

A View of the Glacier – Franz Josef – New Zealand


Rock-Face, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Rock Face – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Precarious-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Precarious Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Moving-up-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Moving up Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand

In the distance, we also got to witness a huge avalanche as the side of one of the glaciers came apart before our eyes, crashing down below. After around an hour or so, we then stopped at one of the three main ice climbing glaciers that we were to take on today. This was great fun, with the first climb a chance for us to get our techniques right and get to grips with the task at hand. Equipped with a couple of ice picks and some climbing shoes, we then strapped ourselves onto some abseiling ropes before pounding our way up the glacier face. It was an exhausting affair, especially if you didn’t get the technique right or got your ice picks jammed in the glacier face. You also needed to get the toe kick right to ensure you put most of your weight on your lower body, without exerting pressure on your upper body by holding on for dear life with the ice picks. This took me a while to master, especially as my lower body strength is quite weak, so I exhausted my upper body quite quickly!

The tallest of the glaciers was around 18 metres high and there were two walls to climb – one with an “Invisible Barrier” three quarters of the way up. This barrier basically meant that the glacier face started to curve convexly outwards making it very difficult for the climber to get over it. After I completed the easier one in just less than 5 minutes which was quite a quick time, the team then set a challenge for me to try and beat Or to the top, with me climbing the harder glacier face. So with the adrenaline pumped, off we set on the walls to large cheers and jeering from the guys. I got off to the quicker of the starts but as we reached the top we both really started struggling for pace. Having reached the Invisible Barrier, I thought I’d lost the game, but with a little bit of help from my guide who yanked on my abseiling rope, I managed to get over, but Or had pipped me at the post at the death! At the top, we had a moment were we celebrated the climb which was around 4 minutes, completely bemused by what we had just completed!

Gal-Awaiting-the-Climb, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Gal Awaiting the Climb – Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Preparation-at-the-Ice-Climb, Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Preparation at the Ice Climb – Franz Josef, New Zealand


Ice-Climb, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Ice Climb – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Oren-Ready-to-Go, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Oren Ready to Go – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Half-Way-Point-of-Climb, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Half Way Point of Climb – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Glacier-Summit, Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Glacier Summit – Franz Josef – New Zealand


Conquered-Glacier, Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Conquered Glacier – Franz Josef – New Zealand


On-the-Descendancy, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

On the Descendancy – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Intermediate-Climb, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Intermediate Climb – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Abseiling-Down-the-Glacier, Franz-Josef, New-Zealand

Abseiling Down the Glacier – Franz Josef – New Zealand


Lydia-Ready, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Lydia Ready – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Oren-Booting-Up, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Oren Booting Up – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand


Strapping-up, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Strapping Up, Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Advanced-Climb, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Advanced Climb, Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand


Happy-Smiles, Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Happy Smiles – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand

To complete the day, we then headed back to the Franz Josef Spa Resort which was a great way to relax our bodies after an action fuelled day.

Happy-at-Franz-Josef-Glacier, New-Zealand

Happy at Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Further Reading

 
Franz Josef Glacier Guides
http://www.franzjosefglacier.com/

Glacier Country
http://www.glaciercountry.co.nz/

Franz Josef Heli Hike
http://www.helicopter.co.nz/heli-hike/

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in New Zealand Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

New Zealand Adventure Part Two – From Nelson to Lake Mahinapua

After breakfast in Nelson the following morning, it was all about dashing to get onto the bus as a group driven by a guy called Poncey. After a tip off from a girl at Kaikoura, she told us that out of the two coaches available, his was by the far the most fun and active. And she wasn’t wrong. From the off he was jeering us all on and making sure we kept our energy levels up whilst telling stories and jokes to keep us from passing out whilst on the road. He was also a strange mix between Harry and Hill and Freddy Kruegar which made his personality ever more intriguing…

From Nelson, we headed off towards Westport, aptly on the west coast. The weather was impeccable for our first stop off which was a nice relaxing visit to Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National park – one of the most beautiful and peaceful lakes in the world.

Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand


Calm-Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Calm Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand


Mountains-of-Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Mountains of Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand


Pauric-Flight, Lake-Rotoiti, Nelson-Lakes-National-Park, New-Zealand

Pauric in Flight – Lake Rotoiti – Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand

Following a daring swim, we then headed over to Murchison to tuck into some of its famous delicious ice cream before winding through the lush green landscapes of the Buller Gorge for our next activity – the Buller Jetboating!

Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Buller Gorge – New Zealand


Kilkenny-Lookout-Point, New-Zealand

Kilkenny Lookout Point – New Zealand

On the bus, we then recruited another member to our gang – Quay – a british Chinese guy from Essex. He is one of the guys I still keep in contact with today and he became my photography buddy, so much so, we were unsurprisingly known as Team Photo after we continuously slowed down the group from moving on by taking shots!

The Buller Jetboating was an adrenaline filled ride through the jaggy cliffs of the gorge. Packed onto the boat with our goggles and safety gear, the driver sped through the gorge whilst continuously performing donuts and 180 degree turns, sliding round dangerous bends and generally ensuring we didn’t leave the boat dry. The gorge was only around 1-2 metres deep, so he had to be pretty accurate with where he was steering the boat. It was dry season and we were told that in the wet season the gorge can rise up to 8 metres and beyond, the dry marks clear to see on the cliff faces. The danger that lurked high above on the winding roads was evidently clear when we also sped past a car that had plummeted 10 metres from the road above. The driver had lost control a couple of weeks ago and fractured his spine as a result.

Buller-Adventure-Tours, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Buller Adventure Tours – Buller Gorge, New Zealand


Team-Photo, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Team Photo – Buller Gorge, New Zealand


Kitted-Out, Buller-Gorge Jet-Boating, New-Zealand

Kitted Out – Buller Gorge Jet Boating, New Zealand


Behind-the-Driver, Jet-Boating, New-Zealand

Behind the Driver – Jet Boating, New Zealand


Flying-Past-the-Rock-Face, Buller-Gorge-Jet-Boating, New-Zealand

Flying Past the Rock Face – Buller Gorge Jet Boating, New Zealand


Car-Submerged, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Car Submerged – Buller Gorge, New Zealand


Cliff-Roadside, Buller-Gorge, New-Zealand

Cliff Roadside – Buller Gorge, New Zealand

Back at Westport, Quay and I then headed off to check out the town and get snapping. It was a dead town really, with very little to do. Again, similar to Christchurch, it had an abandoned feeling, almost like walking into a Midwestern town in the USA, with nothing but tumbleweed and some doors of a local bar slamming in the wind.

Westport-Streets-at-Sunset, New-Zealand

Westport Streets at Sunset – New Zealand


Local-Services, Westport, New-Zealand

Local Services – Westport, New Zealand


Westport-Residency, New-Zealand

Westport Residency – New Zealand


Westport-Church, New-Zealand

Westport Church – New Zealand


Westport-Youth-Base, New-Zealand

Westport Youth Base – New Zealand


Street-Signs-of-Westport, New-Zealand

Street Signs of Westport – New Zealand


Red-Sky-Over-Westport, New-Zealand

Red Sky Over Westport – New Zealand


Sunset-Silhouette, Westport, New-Zealand

Sunset Silhouette – Westport, New Zealand


West-Coast-Bar, Westport, New-Zealand

West Coast Bar – Westport, New Zealand


Westport-Industry, New-Zealand

Westport Industry – New Zealand

Later that evening, we then headed to one of the local bars with the rest of the troops and Poncey to play some drinking games and killer pool. Pauric managed to win out of the 20 odd people taking part, with me coming a half decent 6th. As the night went on, we then met Andy, Lydia, Tamar and Jordiana, so the group just kept on expanding.

The following day, Team Photo was off to a flying start as we stopped off at Cape Foulwind not too far from Westport. The weather was pretty scabby with rain and wind pounding down on us in waves as we walked along the turbulent coastline.

Morning-Sunshine, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Morning Sunshine at Cape Foulwind – New Zealand


Huts, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Huts – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand


Lighthouse, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Lighthouse – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand


Coves-of-Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Coves of Cape Foulwind, New Zealand


Cape-Foulwind-Coastline, New-Zealand

Cape Foulwind Coastline, New Zealand


Cape-Foulwind-Countryside, New-Zealand

Cape Foulwind Countryside, New Zealand


Rocky-Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Rocky Cape Foulwind – New Zealand


Ways-to-Exit-New-Zealand, Cape-Foulwind

Ways to Exit New Zealand – Cape Foulwind


Algae-Rocks, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Algae Rocks – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand


Beaches-of-Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Beaches of Cape Foulwind, New Zealand


Foggy-Road, Cape-Foulwind, New-Zealand

Foggy Road – Cape Foulwind, New Zealand

Later, we also had a chance to wander around the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – this was like a little fantasy grotto land with the rock formation seemingly formed artistically rather than naturally. Nearby, huge blow holes would shoot water out into the air spectacularly soaking everything and everybody around them.

Beaches-at-Punakaiki, New-Zealand

Beaches at Punakaiki, New Zealand


Punakaiki-Cove, New-Zealand

Punakaiki Cove, New Zealand


The-Gang-at-Punakaiki, New-Zealand

The Gang at Punakaiki, New Zealand


Blow-Holes-of-Punakaiki, New-Zealand

Blow Holes of Punakaiki, New Zealand


Punakaiki-Pancake-Rocks, New-Zealand

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – New Zealand


Punakaiki-Pancake-Rock-Formations, New-Zealand

Punakaiki Pancake Rock Formations – New Zealand

From there, we then moved onto Lake Mahinapua for the main party event of the trip – the Poo Party. The theme was Bright But Tight or Bad Taste and we had an hour or so in the nearby town to do a quick sweep of any gear for fancy dress. I dressed up as an old granny in a disgusting stained pink jumper, a stained tea cosy for a hat, some fake glasses and some amazing yellow trousers. Pauric dressed up like a Noddy-cum-fireman, with Quay buying the tightest clothing he could possibly find.

Sunset-at-Lake-Mahinapua, New-Zealand

Sunset at Lake Mahinapua, New Zealand


Lake-Mahinapua, New-Zealand

Lake Mahinapua, New Zealand


Dressed-up-for-the-Poo-Party, Lake-Mahinapua, New-Zealand

Dressed up for the Poo Party, Lake Mahinapua, New Zealand

Steak dinner was later served up to the hungry rabble in preparation for the ensuing drinking session that left us all in disarray for the next day’s trip to Franz Josef.

Further Reading

 
Nelson Lakes National Park
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/national-parks/nelson-lakes/

Buller Adventure Tours
http://www.adventuretours.co.nz/

Lake Mahinapua
http://www.hokitika.org/places/60/Lake-Mahinapua

More Photography :

 
“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in New Zealand Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |