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|| News Item: Posted 2000-07-28

Sacramento Showdown
By Bob Galbraith, AP

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Robert Hanashiro
(For weeks NBC hyped it as the "race of the new millennium" Michael Johnson's showdown with the "world's fastest human" Maurice Greene. TV commercial hype gave way to trash talking between the pair in the days leading up to Sunday's showdown. Photographers debated whether it was best to sit at the finish line or farther down to catch the jube in the turn. But leg cramps brought the race to a stand still as Johnson never made it into the turn and Greene limped around 110 meters from the finish line.)

High above the track and 100 yards from the finish line provided the prime coverage position for the men's 200-meter final of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials in Sacramento.

My assignment for the Michael Johnson - Maurice Greene showdown was to cover the turn from above.

I was assigned by my editor to shoot both the semi-final and the final race to shoot from overhead at the turn. I went up to the spot Sunday morning and a police officer told me I couldn't shoot from up there. I then talked to both media coordinators, Doug Kelly and Bob Burns. I explained the importance of being able to cover the big race from this position. They agreed and said it was OK. Rick Rickman joined me up there to shoot the
Photo by Bob Galbraith/AP

Photo by Bob Galbraith/AP
semi-final to get a shot of Greene and Johnson running side by side.. We were fortunate to have the spot for the final race.

The two ran side-by-side during the semifinals, making for a clean action photo.

But as the final approached, it was announced that Greene would run in lane 2, Johnson lane 4. I knew the two would stack-up once they reached the straightaway, so I focused on Johnson as the race began.

Suddenly, just as he reached the top of the turn, Johnson reared back, grabbing his left thigh before limping to a quick stop.

Using a Nikon D-1, I began shooting as Johnson reached the turn and kept going as he stumbled and fell to the ground. Fortunately, it was a good, clean view with nice, strong sidelight. After using one NC2000 for two years and a Kodak DCS620 for another, it was a good to know I could shoot almost a limitless amount of frames as I fired an extended burst.

That gave us a nice variety from which to transmit.

(Bob Galbraith is an Associated Press staff photographer based in Sacramento, CA.)

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