Only 37.04 seconds. That’s how long it took Erin Jackson of the United States to race for her gold medal in the women’s 500 meter speed skating event. It’s also about how long it took photographers to capture her win.
Much of the content of the Olympics is about speed, sacrifice, and emotion. Photographing the Olympics can also take a lot of time sometimes.
None of the articles I’ve read or the television I’ve watched can do justice to witnessing the action on the ground. My heart pounded as the cross-country skiers fell to the ground at the finish line. A Chinese cross-country skier, Jialin Bayani, untied her exhausted teammate Dinigeer Yilamujiang after a race. A Swedish skier puts his hand on the back of US athlete JC Schoonmaker. I was moved to tears by these small gestures. Minutes later, I took pictures with my fingertips numb from the cold and wind. That night, my lens was blurred.
The first Friday of the competition was a big news day. Shaun White announced that this would be his last Olympics.
On White’s third and final run, I waited for him to pop halfway up the tube after I heard that creepy scraping sound. He fell. Seconds later, he was gliding to the finish line, his helmet in the air, and just like that, history was written. The career of a sports legend is over, and halfway there will be a new owner, Ayumu Hirano of Japan, gold medal winner.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with my colleague Chang Lee as White fell to the ground and cried, I pulled out my Polaroid SX-70. Although my digital camera allows me to shoot 30 frames per second, I sometimes turn to Polaroid to slow down and enjoy the unpredictability of film. I had four frames left in my Polaroid, so I waited and took two.
Athletes are the stars of the Olympics, but behind the scenes, thousands of people have worked tirelessly to make this a reality. One night, we walked out of the main press center, raving about the dust that had fallen, and saw a team of workers in orange jackets sweeping the pavement with long leaf brooms. dry and sticks. Every time it snowed, these teams would shift gears from cleaning sites to standing in the cold, sweeping entrances and walkways and shoveling roads.
I also appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work at events. Between the ends when bending, Mark Callan quietly put the pebbles down on the ice, with his backpack and faucet. The research team he is a member of spent weeks preparing the site, the National Aquatic Center, using a humidifier to keep the ice sheets from decomposing in Beijing’s arid climate.
Groups of volunteers, barrel-wielding or driving large machines, have come to the ice rink between figure skating runs to repair the skating surface.
One night, as I ran back to the media studio at the cross-country skiing site, taking hundreds of pictures, I realized that I barely stopped to catch my breath all day. I pulled out my Polaroid camera again and took a picture. When the movie came out, I watched the chemicals freeze in the film. The next day, the camera’s focus was frozen.
When we usually only have one chance to succeed, when 37.04 seconds can be all we have to capture the moment, and when somewhere between anxiety and freezing temperatures, We’re moved to tears, pulling out a 50-year-old camera. slow, a little buggy, and held together by some neon orange bandages can be the perfect way to take a breather and really enjoy the amazing sight ahead.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/sports/olympics/polaroids-olympics-shaun-white.html I captured the Olympics with my Polaroid. Until Camera freezes.