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|| News Item: Posted 2008-09-04

Olympic Moments: Dan Powers
'But just as I thought I missed a great moment, something a lot better happened and I managed to make a frame of it.'

By Dan Powers, Appleton Post-Crescent

Photo by Daniel J. Powers / USA TODAY

Photo by Daniel J. Powers / USA TODAY

The United States' Mariel Zagunis kisses piste after defeating her teammate Sada Jacobson to win the gold medal in Fencing Women's Individual Sabre.
When Bert asked us to pick an Olympic moment we found memorable, I knew exactly which one to choose. In fact, I actually blogged about it after it happened. So this is a combination of my original blog post and my current thoughtsÅ 

When I first got to Beijing, my goal was to get at least one memorable photo and hopefully witness one historic event. Well, never in my life would I have expected that to happen on my very first assignment. What a day.

Covering a sport you have never covered before is always a learning experience. Covering the same sport at an Olympic level is a bit stressful, but I learned quickly that you don't have a lot of time to worry about it. So it was fencing for me and I'll never forget it.

My favorite photograph came nearly at the end of the day. I was actually waiting at the podium for the three American athletes to receive their medals. It was fantastic because they swept the event, which from my understanding hasn't happened in a long time. So while I was waiting, I heard someone make a noise or an "ooh" or something to my left. When I turned around, gold medal winner Mariel Zagunis was holding up an American flag over her arms.

Well, because I was waiting to shoot the medals ceremony, I had set my camera with a 300mm lens about ten feet away from me. Needless to say, I tried to grab it as quick as possible and was able to shoot about 3 frames of her standing...nothing great, but not bad.

But just as I thought I missed a great moment, something a lot better happened and I managed to make a frame of it. Mariel kissing the piste with the American flag lying next to her, with her name and USA strewn across her back. I was just praying it was in focus.

To this day, I can't believe how my first day covering my first Olympics kicked off. I mean I was very nervous going into that event. I didn't know a thing about the sport (my fault for not studying up on it) and I asked plenty of stupid questions when I got to the venue.

To give you an idea, Getty's Jed Jacobsohn was nice enough to try to answer one of my questions. But he could only answer with "I'm sorry, I don't understand the question." I was a nervous wreck. But I settled down and really tried to do as good a job as I could. I couldn't afford to mess up my very first assignment.

Well, it all worked out and capturing a nice image on your first day certainly gives you a boost of confidence. I would be lying if I told you that my nerves completely settled after that and the rest of my Olympic experience was a cakewalk. But to be honest, I was exhilarated to start things out on a high note and anything after that was just a bonus. It's a day I'll never forget.

Related Links:
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