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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2008-09-04

Olympic Moments: Chris Detrick
'Team USA won the game 118-107 and it was amazing to watch how these NBA players reacted to their victory.'

By Chris Detrick, The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Chris Detrick / The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Chris Detrick / The Salt Lake Tribune

Chris Detrick in China
For me, the Beijing Olympic Games was the assignment of a lifetime. I was part of the MediaNews team, working with photographers Nhat Meyer from San Jose and Helen Richardson from Denver. One of the most memorable days for me was the very last day of competition.

I was assigned to cover the gold medal games for both men's volleyball and basketball. Volleyball was scheduled to begin at noon and basketball was at 2:30 p.m. With the start times being so close together, I planned to shoot the entire volleyball game then catch a cab to basketball, in hopes to be there before medal ceremony began.

At volleyball, USA played Brazil and lost the first set 20-25. They quickly regained their composure and came back to win the next three sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-23) to earn the gold medal. Our local athletes Ryan Millar and Richard Lambourne, who both went to Brigham Young University, were instrumental in the win. It was great to photograph them as they celebrated with their teammates on the court.

By the time the medal ceremony was finished and I had all of my gear packed up, it was already 3:15 pm. Tribune reporter Michael Lewis and I hailed a cab and after many frustrating attempts to communicate with the Chinese driver where we needed to go, we were on the way. During the 30-minute ride to the Olympic Basketball Gymnasium, I began to edit volleyball pictures on the back of my camera.

I arrived at the basketball game late in the third quarter and USA was only leading Spain by five points. Being such a high profile game, I did not even attempt to find a photo position on the baseline and began searching for an elevated position on the concourse level. This proved to be harder that I thought as thousands of Chinese fans crowded all of the walkways and aisles, literally leaving no where to shoot from. Luckily, I ran into friend Sol Neelman who was shooting from a handicap section and was able to spare a few extra inches for me to shoot from.

Team USA won the game 118-107 and it was amazing to watch how these NBA players reacted to their victory. Every player seemed genuinely ecstatic to have won the gold medal, thus completing the mission of the "Redeem Team." I remained in an elevated position to photograph the medal ceremony. It was an okay angle, but things started getting crazy when the players began putting their gold medals around Coach K's neck.

Two photographers, who I believe were either working for the team or were friends of Coach K's, began making pictures. But they made the mistake of standing in front of the hundreds of other photographers, blocking their view of this iconic moment.

Photo by Chris Detrick / The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Chris Detrick / The Salt Lake Tribune

USA's Carlos Boozer celebrates after the game. The U.S. men's basketball team won the gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with a 118-107 victory over Spain Sunday afternoon at the Olympic Basketball Gymnasium, Sunday, August 24, 2008.
There were not enough volunteers in China to hold back the pack of photographers that stormed the court, in hopes to make the picture. While watching this unfold, I had a decision to make: do I remain in the stands and keep shooting with the 400mm, or do I ditch the long glass and join the party on the court with my wide-angle?

After bypassing several security guards and hopping over the barrier that separated the stands from the floor, I found myself in a whirlwind of photographers, athletes, volunteers and other fans that also made it onto the court. My main goal was to find Utah's Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams.

I spotted Boozer about ten feet away near center court as he was being mobbed by a group of foreign photographers. We made brief eye contact and he saw I was trying to get to him. Having worked with Carlos many times in the past, we have a pretty good relationship. But it was still very surprising when he acted like Moses parting the Red Sea and in one quick motion, used his arms to clear away the other photographers and came to give me a hug.

I congratulated him on his gold medal, made a couple of pictures, and then continued photographing the chaos on the floor. I never did find Williams, but on my way out, I saw about two-dozen Chinese volunteers posing for pictures on the medal podium. One guy was even 'biting' his credential like he was a gold medal winner. So naturally, I made a self-portrait with the energetic volunteers. It is one of my favorite pictures from the Olympics and pretty much sums up my Olympic experience.

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