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|| News Item: Posted 2012-08-27

2012 Summer Olympics - Bob Deutsch
“I was a very tough moment for Jordyn, but a classy move by my colleague.”

By Bob Deutsch

Photo by Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports ORG

Photo by Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports ORG

Xiang Liu (CHN) kisses a hurdle after competing the mens 110m hurdles heats during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium.
Covering Gymnastics, where I spend my first Olympic week, is a bit different than many other sports. You don’t set up in one spot like swimming, but have to move from one spot to another following your athletes. If it is the floor exercise, not a big problem because it looks like crap no matter where you go, so no rush.

The field of play is covered with TV cameras, cable pullers, remote cameras, unused stix, cables, pool photogs, judges, officials, assistants, TV producers, you name it. The background you get when shooting from a spot that isn’t blocked in the front is all the media in the press tribune behind. But vault looks good from very few spots, same with beam or horse or high bar… so careful planning ahead was in order. You had to shoot one rotation and know exactly where you wanted to be for the next, and move quickly to get a position while everyone else is doing the same. The good news is there is always someone leaving the spot you are trying to get… they are following their athletes. The bad news is the US, who I follow, has the most photogs working their group

For the most part we weren’t able to transmit from the floor, but there was a good sized corridor just feet from the field of play entrance where we could set up laptops and internet lines were available, so it was easy to run in and send quickly. At the end of the women’s team event, I was quickly trying to get off the floor to send, about to violate one of the rules of big time sport… Elvis hadn’t left the building yet.

On my way out I saw the U.S. team shooter trying to get a group shot of the USA girls, so I stopped and waited a bit, only to see USA’s number one All-Around hope Jordyn Wieber start to cry. Of course I had no idea why she was in tears, only finding out later she had been bumped out of the all around competition two days later.

On the other side of her was a pool photographer who avoided circling around and blocking us leaning over the wall… later he told me he avoided doing that because he knew he would block us all. I was a very tough moment for Jordyn, but a classy move by my colleague.

Days later, at track, I saw another heartfelt moment when Chinese runner Xiang Liu crashed at the beginning of the 110 meter hurdles. The same thing happened to him four years ago in Beijing, but rather than let himself be carried off the track, he hopped all 110 meters down the track and went to the last hurdle, which he kissed in front of the crowds in London. It was a wonderful scene.

Lastly, never be shooting pans at 1/20th of a second when your USA runner gets tripped up and crashes right in front of you in a 1500 meter final.

Bob Deutsch is on the photography staff of USA TODAY. You can see his work at his Sports Shooter member page:

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