February 27, 2010

I honestly thought I wasn’t going back to Whistler – but there I was on that 7:00 am bus.  It was my Sixth and definitely final trip to Whistler since there was only one day after today.  As usual, got up at 5:30, caught the 6:06 light rail, arrived at MPC around 6:35, went to locker, yogurt, 7 am shuttle.  Actually today was a bit of a treat, if Canada or the USA had lost in hockey yesterday then I’d have been stuck shooting the bronze medal match.  Instead it was Finland vs Slovakia and that had little interest to us.  It was snowing and semi-cold.  Luckily I had remembered to bring my rain cover – there were very few photographers too, I didn’t recognize any other US photographers by my spot, maybe they all knew nothing was going to happen.

I headed up to Creekside on the off chance that Bode Miller might collect another medal in the Men’s Slalom – well he flamed out after three turns, the only other person we cared about Ted Ligety went right before Bode and he also didn’t finish.  I waited until they both skied down and skied off the course so that I would have some sort of picture of them.  If Bode was in contention then John Leyba was going to head over for the second run at 1:45 – but since he didn’t I sent him a text to head over to Men’s Bobsleigh – the other big story going on.

After about 30 racers I took off and headed to the bus.  I was stressing about the positions at bobsled cause everyone I talked with said they were going to head up for that race, I ran into Wally on the shuttle over there and he had the great idea of going straight up to the finish line and putting out stuff down to mark our spot.  Five shuttles later we were at the finish line.

There are two finish line positions, one that looks directly on, kinda of far away, and one that is right up on the side of the finish line.  We both chose the later because we figured we’d have more of a chance at getting jube that way then but being up top.  I had shot from that straight on position before when I was at the luge and as soon as they leave the ice it’s totally blocked.  The spot is super narrow and tough to move around.

Even though it wasn’t too busy we were still worried about our spots, so I wanted to head back to the media center and Wally offered to watch the spot… so in turn I took his Nikon 400 f2.8 back, man that thing is big, I thought it was the Nikon 600 until I looked at the lens.  I downloaded some disks, got some water, I ran into Chang Lee from the NYT and talked to him about some of the positions beforehand.  Then headed back.  There were two runs down the track – so we talked with the photo dudes and asked them to keep an eye on our stuff and we headed over to turn 11 – which is super close to the finish line.

We shot the first heat (heat 3) from that turn and then booked back to the finish line.  Well apparently the :everyone I talked with” said that they were going bobsled went, but no one else did, it was surprisingly not busy at all.  I saw Paul Chinn and John Leyba at the other finish line spot, Wally, Trent Nelson and I were down in the little pit area – there were a bunch of other photographers but either I didn’t know them or they were foreigners.  were up The jube was pretty good, not great, but good, we were worried we were going to get blocked because there was so much going on.  Being short in that position kinda sucked because the taller people leaned over the track and blocked me… oh well.

It was cool to be there, it was the first time in something like 60 years that the US had won in four man bobsleigh.  One other cool story was when the Canadian team finished (before the US) – one of the bobsledders took off his helmet and handed to it to a guy with his shirt off and yelled at him “PUT IT ON – PUT IT ON!” and then left – the picture wasn’t that great but it was a funny.  The guy was super psyched.

Afterwards, headed back down, two shuttles and the bus ride back to the MPC.  They wanted our lockers cleaned out by Sunday night, I wasn’t sure if I’d be back to the MPC after closing ceremonies tomorrow so I cleaned it out.  Luckily I had already been taking stuff back to the room periodically because at one point the locker was packed so I only had to bring back my ThinkThankPhoto roller and backpack full of gear.

I met Josie near Lions Pub and we cabbed it back and had room service – it was way too crazy downtown!  The poor cab driver got a flat tire about 3/4 of the way to the hotel, luckily he went to the hotel instead of stopping right away because there wasn’t much around.  I was bushed and we just got room service.


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