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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2002-03-01

Olympics Hot Dogs to Photo Weenies:
A Look Back at the 2002 Games

By Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune
Wow. The 2002 Winter Olympic Games were a beast! So many memories that I need to purge from my mind, probably through therapy. Don't get me wrong, they went off great, and there was a whole crop of memorable images and moments.

But does anyone feel like crowding into the finish area at the bobsled track again? What about sprinting after an event to get in position to shoot a lame flower ceremony (especially the ones at the Olympic Park where we had to scramble up a ladder up onto a rickety platform, only to then shoot partially through a chain-link fence)? Will any of you ever eat a hot dog again?

There were some low moments, weren't there? I'm on my second day off now and I still haven't warmed up after seventeen days in the cold.

There were a lot of good things about the 2002 Winter Olympics. Traffic was no problem. The venues were fairly well organized. Of course, things weren't perfect. But there wasn't any epidemic problem that hindered coverage. I mean, other than that one venue photo chief who was prone to telling photographers to "F**K Off!"

The security checks started out woefully slow but seemed to pick up speed as the games progressed. In those last few days it seemed they were inspecting less and less, didn't it? Of course, the biggest indignity I've ever faced as a lowly member of the media was the "Loss Prevention Check" they were doing as we all left most venues after their last event. Security was searching bags on the way out, making sure no one was stealing souvenirs or staplers from the venue.

Bonus points to everyone who simply ignored their demands and walked through without stopping for the insulting search. I can still hear them yelling, "SIR! SIR!" trying to stop me. Go to hell. You can search me on the way in, but nobody's searching me on the way out.

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune
But the competition was great. Whoa, boy! You go to shoot Olympic hockey and you'd better be alert. Not to get a great photograph, mind you. It's because you're shooting next to a freakish photographer whose monopod is flailing all around while he's changing his camera battery and it's sure to put out your eye or crash your laptop to the floor.

And you ask yourself yet again, "Who gave this guy a credential? Somehow I also ended up next to the same guy at Ski Jumping, and had to be exposed to the following dialogue as the ski jumpers flew over our heads:

NY: "Which number was that guy?"

Everyone: "8"

Another skier a minute later

NY: "Which number was that guy?"

Everyone: "9"

Another skier a minute later

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune
NY: "Which number was that guy?"

Everyone: "10"

Another skier a minute later

NY: "Which number was that guy?"

Everyone: "11"

Yes, these Olympics were hard to figure out, weren't they? There were a lot of tough decisions to make as we all worked extra-long days. Take lunch or dinner for example.

At any venue, you had a tough time picking from the three fine choices:
A) Hot dog
B) Campbell's soup or
C) Hot dog with Campbell's soup

(Before SLOC gets on my case, a correction: instead of hot dog, it was an "all-beef frankfurter," and there were two different sizes available. I don't want to make the food selection sound TOO grim.)

Okay, seventeen Olympic days are over. There are some phrases I never need to hear again:
1. "Kiss and Cry." Can't they come up with a better name for the bench the figure skaters sit on while the judge's marks are posted? I just couldn't bring myself to say, "I'll cover the kiss and cry."

2. "Jubo,"or "Juby." Come on, we're photographers. Can't we come up with a better term for those celebration photos? Jubo sounds like some kind of black-licorice candy from the 1950's.

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune
3. "I'm sorry, was that the large or small hot dog you wanted?" How about that Closing Ceremony? Bon Jovi? Kiss? How embarrassing! But I guess if you're having figure skaters from the 70's and 80's, the music should be as creaky as the knees of the Scott Hamilton and Dorothy Hamill.

Okay, enough of this. I'm cranky and am going to take another nap now.

(Trent Nelson is on staff with the Salt Lake Tribune. His personal web site is: http://www.trenthead.com. For a look at his Olympic work, check out the Tribune's web site at: http://www.sltrib2002.com/gallery/index.asp#02-20-2002)



Related Links:
www.trenthead.com
www.sltrib2002.com/gallery/index.asp#02-20-2002

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