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|| News Item: Posted 2004-09-08

Olympic Memories: Dave Black
'My favorite memory came during the last night of Athletics ... '

By Dave Black

Photo by Dave Black

Photo by Dave Black

Opening Ceremonies.
To recall a memory from the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece would be difficult as there were so many to choose from. This was my 11th Olympic Games and I found this one to be the most demanding yet the most rewarding of them all.

There were athletes that I had the opportunity to become acquainted with over the past 4 years leading up to the Games in Athens. Michael Phelps, Paul Hamm, Carly Patterson, Jenny Thompson, Rulon Garner and others. It was exciting to see them do so well. In some ways the Games are more than a memory with the fact that my feet are still sore with blisters and strained arches being a current reminder that photographing over 20 different sports was perhaps too ambitious a schedule.

But ... if I were to narrow my Olympic experience down to just one instance, something unusual, something I did not expect, my favorite memory came during the last night of Athletics (a.k.a. frack and field to Americans) but began during the Opening Ceremonies.

For Newsweek's coverage of the Opening Ceremony I had a remote Nikon D2H camera clamped to a railing with a 10.5mm fisheye lens. At first I thought the camera was in a good location but half way through the show I became concerned that it might become a high traffic area during the finale of fireworks. It did become a problem area and my fisheye view soon became a clutter of Greek humanity.

To my rescue came a young Greek volunteer named Sophie. I asked if she could help clear the area for the picture. She answered "of course !" (which was the answer all Greeks gave to every request) and proceeded to herd the mob of people like goats until they were out of the fisheye field of view. She held them out of camera view for about 20 minutes.

The finale was massive fireworks display, and I captured the moment as planned. I thanked Sophie, gave her a Newsweek pin and ran off to the office. Newsweek used the picture as their double page spread Olympic Games opener. I was off to a great start.

Two weeks later on the last night of Athletics I was working my way through the sea of photographers to get into position for the Men's 4 x 400 relay when who do I see ... Sophie. She ran up and told me she saw the Newsweek issue with the picture from the Opening Ceremonies. She said it was beautiful and that she was happy I was able to take the picture. I told her that I could not have done it without her and that she helped make the image a success. She said she was so proud to have been able to help me and asked if these were the greatest Olympic Games ever. I said, YES, the GREATEST OLYMPIC GAMES EVER !

(Note: For more of Dave's Olympic images go to his website at and click On The Road and Workshop at the Ranch.)

Related Links:
Dave Black's member page

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