Posts Tagged With: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Olympic photos: Day 17, final assignment

The day is here. Tonight is the Closing Ceremonies of the XXX Olympiad here in London and a few short hours after the torch is extinguished, Julie and I will be on a plane bound for home. And you know what? It’s time.

I’ve really enjoyed my month Across the Pond, shooting photos wherever I go and meeting very good people from all over the world. There was the nice man from Cameroon who played the sax on the train for Julie and I; the lawyer couple from Yorkshire who didn’t understand the American political process and shared my distaste of the Spice Girls; the Spanish man who loved everything about American culture and especially the sports (he’s a 49ers fan and watches the NBA finals live from Spain); and who could forget Charles, the Londoner who held and umbrella over my camera so I could photograph the women’s marathon in the pouring rain.

Someone asked me yesterday if I was homesick and it didn’t hit me until that moment but I really am. It will be nice to get a full night’s sleep and not have to sleep on an air mattress on the floor of a closet-sized dorm room. While I think the Tube is the greatest feat of public transportation in the world, it will be nice not to have to travel a minimum of 45 minutes each direction just to get to the action. That being said, I can’t wait to come back and see the UK properly, without the distraction of The Games. Though I will still have my camera in tow.

On this final day of competition, the men’s marathon wound its way through the maze that is the streets of London. Team USA’s Mebrahtom Keflezighi finished fourth after leading early. And with that, I’m off.

Categories: Athletes, Events, Olympics, Photos, Track & Field Events | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Olympics photos: Day 16, women’s race walking

Race walking just doesn’t seem funny anymore, it seems hard. And this race was a great one, at least at the end. Olga Kaniskina from Russia lead the 20 kilometer race the entire way and was on a World Record pace when, with 1 kilometer left to go, her fellow Russian, Elena Lashmanova, stormed past her and took the gold medal AND the World Record.

Team USA’s Maria Michta didn’t do well compared to the rest of the field, but she did run a personal best time and did it with a smile on her face whenever she was near her friends and family in the crowd, which also happened to be near me, so I got a lot of photos of her smiling.

Like always, I had to get to my spot about 2 hours early to get a good spot. Met a nice couple from Yorkshire though and talked about our different culture and politics. Pretty funny to hear a Brit’s take on American politics. And yes, they told me I’d have to deal with The Wave being called the Mexican Wave since that’s what the entire world (except the US) knows it as.

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Olympic photos: Day 10, women’s marathon, the kindness of strangers and a soaking Tony

I should know better, I just should. BBC weather said it will be sunny and in the 70s on Sunday, but they lied. OK, so they didn’t lie, but their educated guess was off. By a lot.

I went to central London to shoot the women’s marathon and wanted to make sure I got there very early so I’d get a spot. Turns out, I didn’t have to worry so much because there weren’t that many spectators around until just before the race started and I was about 30 minutes from the start. But just as the starting bell went off, the sky opened up and dumped massive amounts of rain on all of us there waiting to watch the runners. I backed away from the barricades and stood under a ledge until more people started showing up and I had to regain my spot. It was still pouring.

At this point I put away my camera in my bag, which has a waterproof covering, until just before the women were due to arrive. I happened to be standing next to a nice British family that, like all Brits I’ve met, was extremely nice and eager to strike up a conversation with a Yank (though I think of Yanks as East Coasters). Charles, Caroline and Ruby kept me company as I got more and more soaked since I had no umbrella and no poncho. Every time I’ve seen a poncho for sale it’s been sunny, so I didn’t think to buy one. Stupid me. Charles was very helpful in keeping my spirits up and even snapped a photo of me …

Here I am, waiting in the rain for the women’s marathon. Aren’t the Olympics glorious? You can see me using my body to keep as much rain off my camera bag as possible.

That’s when a wonderful thing happened. Another Brit offered me his umbrella since he and his wife could share one. It was a wonderful gesture, but one I was about to decline when Charles took the umbrella and held it over me himself so I could use both hands to shoot photos. “You’re supporting the American press,” he told the stranger. “Well in that case …,” said the stranger as he playfully tried to take the umbrella back. So the first of three lap of the marathon were shot with Charles holding the umbrella over my lens in the pouring rain. I really love London. Surprises around every corner.

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Olympic photos: Day 9, part 2 … RACE WALKING!

I know what you are thinking, “Tony, dude … race walking? Seriously?” I know, I know, but after watching my first live race walking event, I have to say, this looks tough. These guys are WALKING close to a 6-minute mile. That’s hardcore. The agony these men were in by the end of the race made ME out of breath. I won’t make fun of race walking any more. Really.

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Olympics photos: Day 6

Kristin Armstrong of the USA successfully defends her Olympic Time Trial title at Hampton Court Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 in London. Her final time of 37:34 was 15 seconds ahead of the field. (Anthony L. Solis/Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Kristen Armstrong of Team USA finished the 29km route in 37:34 to finish 15 seconds clear of the field.

World champion Judith Arndt of Germany finished in 37:50 to place second, with Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya third in 37:57 for her second bronze medal of the Games.

Great Britain’s Emma Pooley, the 2010 world champion and silver medallist in Beijing four years’ ago, finished in 38:37, placing sixth.

Lizzie Armitstead, Britain’s first medallist of London 2012 after winning silver in Sunday’s road race, clocked 39:26 to place 10th.

Categories: Athletes, Cycling, Events, Kristin Armstrong, Olympics, Photos, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Olympics photos: Day 5

Today is all about those poor people who traveled all the way from the U.S. only to be denied tickets or access to the Olympic park.

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Olympics photos: Day 3

Soaked. The weather here switches from very hot to cold and rainy in a matter of minutes. I froze while standing in front of Buckingham Palace waiting for the Women’s Cycling race to head to the finish line. Staked out a great spot but when the rain started, the umbrellas went up and I could see anything anymore. Oh well. I made do.

Categories: Athletes, Cycling, Events, Olympics, Photos | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Olympics top 10 storylines

By JULIE JAG
jjag@santacruzsentinel.com

LONDON — It’s the Olympics. No other event is so chocked full of accolades and admonishments, showdowns and breakdowns. It’s a time to see unbelievable feats of athleticism and triumphs over the unimaginable.
The 2012 London Olympics, which kick off today with the opening ceremonies and run through Aug. 12, will be no different.
Every Olympics is a spectacle, and these are just the storylines already bubbling at the top. No one knows what’s brewing beneath the XXX Olympiad, but there’s a good chance it’s going to be worth watching.

1. Ryan Lochte vs. Michael Phelps
Phelps enters this Olympics without much to prove except perhaps that a toke here and there never hurt anybody. Phelps won a record eight gold medals in Beijing, bringing his grand total for his Olympic career to 14. Five more medals and he can unseat Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina with the most medals won by an athlete. Or maybe he’ll try to stretch his lead even farther than he can stretch his gumby-like arms, to 21.
Lochte, meanwhile, didn’t do much to bolster his reputation as a party boy when he mentioned Thursday that he lifts kegs as part of his workout regimen. He also flips tires and pulls chains, giving him a farmboy physique he feels is enough to gain him at least one gold.
“I can tell you no other swimmer in the world today is doing what I’m doing on dry land,” Lochte said. “I haven’t heard of anyone else lifting tires, throwing kegs or dragging chains. … It had to have helped.”
Here’s guessing he’d give up a night with Australian swimmer Blair Evans, with whom he’s rumored to have romantic connections, to beat Phelps in the 200 and 400 individual medley relays.

Men’s 400 IM Final: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Men’s 200 IM Final: Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m.

2. Brits: Bring on the Bikinis
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor almost didn’t happen this year. Walsh, who lived several years in Scotts Valley, had to talk May-Treanor out of retirement, and the two didn’t start pairing together until February. There was plenty to catch up on, since their lives have changed considerably since the pair won gold in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2012. Walsh became a mother twice over and May-Treanor found even great celebrity when she appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” before blowing out her Achilles tendon while practicing the jive.
Similarly there have been vast changes in their sport. The AVP, once the king organization for professional beach volleyball, disbanded. It has since experienced a reboot, but is vying with several other groups for favor with the players. Speaking of royalty, the sport has also experienced an uptick in popularity of late and even Prince Harry plans to attend a match in London.

Women’s Final: Aug. 8, 7 p.m.
Men’s Final: Aug. 9, 7 p.m.

3. Bevan Docherty goes for gold, again
Docherty, a triathlete representing New Zealand, moved to the Westside of Santa Cruz in 2010, six years after winning silver by a second and two years after taking bronze in Beijing. Since then he’s dumped his coach, had two kids, topped Lance Armstrong in a half Ironman and started a trend of elite athletes moving from high altitude to sea level to train. Docherty, 34, has made it clear he plans to pass on the Olympics after this year. So, the questions remain: Will the changes pay off and can he put himself in enough pain to complete his medal collection? He’ll have to upset the UK’s Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, to do it.

Men’s Triathlon: Aug. 7, 11:30 a.m.

4. BOXING WELCOMES WOMEN
When the father of Marlen Esparza went looking for a boxing trainer for his 11-year-old daughter, few would take on the job. Finally, he struck upon Rudy Silva.
“The other trainers used to ask him, ‘Why do you even bother with her? She’s just going to get pregnant,’” Esparza said Thursday.
Instead, Esparza became the first woman to qualify for the Olympics for Team USA. An aspiring doctor, she will also be one of the first to fight – in shorts, not a skirt, which were almost made mandatory — when the Games open the rings to the ladies for the first time in history.

Women’s Boxing Finals [all weights]: Aug. 9, 4:30 p.m.

5. GYMNASTICS FLIPS
Jordyn Wieber won the world championship and was the Team USA trials favorite heading into San Jose last month. Then, bubbly Gabby Douglas bounced her with a effervescent performance worthy of the national title. The two will toe a taut line between teammates and competitors over the next couple weeks as they move from the team to the individual competition.
The USA women are strong favorites to take gold, but there’s also plenty of opportunities for drama. How will McKayla Maroney handle only competing in the vault, as she said Thursday that she expected to do after reinjuring a broken toe in June. Also, what will the team do without the support of Anna Li, one of the elder statesmen, albeit as an alternate, who left London on Thursday after reportedly pulling a ligament in her neck during practice. Lastly, can the girls live up to Shannon Miller’s prediction for Yahoo Sports that they’re even better than Miller’s own 1996 team that took gold in Atlanta?

Women’s Gymnastics Team Final: Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.
Women’s Gymnastics Individual All-Around Final: Aug. 2, 4:30 p.m.

6. No legs better than two?
Oscar Pistorius, created a stir in 2008 when he nearly made the South African Olympic track and field team as a double amputee. His near miss – he placed third but didn’t meet the A standard – prompted the IAAF to draft a rule banning the use of springs and other artificial devices. That rule was overturned later in 2008, and Pistorius will line up on the track for the 400 meters in London to test his Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fiber transtibial artificial limbs against the fleet feet of Team USA’s Lashawn Merritt, the defending gold medalist. Pistorius will also race the 4×400 relay.

Men’s 400m final: Aug. 7, 6:50 p.m.

7. Weightlifter Zoe Smith takes on her Internet haters
The country hosting the Olympics should be the first to regale its qualifying athletes, but such is not the case with Zoe Smith, a weightlifter from Great Britain.
One of London’s famous tabloids earlier this week screamed the headline “Weightlifter is Bloke, Lesbian” of Smith, 18, who is considered the UK’s best chance for a medal. But Smith, who competes in the 58kg [130-pound] division, knows how to throw her weight around. She recently posted on her blog: “Most of the people who do think like this seem to be chauvinistic, pig-headed blokes who feel emasculated by the fact that we, three small, fairly feminine girls, are stronger than them. Simple as that.”

Women’s Weightlifting Final [58kg]: Monday, 3:30 p.m.

8. REVENGE A DISH BEST SERVED COLD, RAINY
Abby Wambach does not seem like the kind of person one would want to make angry. Yet, that’s just what Japan did in the final for the 2011 World Cup. It swiped the title right out from under the U.S. forward, her sexy sidekick and goalkeeper Hope Solo and their American teammates, who finished the match tied 2-2 but lost 3-1 on penalty kicks.
As evidenced from her TV commercial, though, Wambach can spot weakness a mile away. And it’s a sure bet Team USA plans to pounce on the weaknesses of its opponents all the way to the final, and beyond. The Opening Ceremony isn’t even until tonight and the women have already notched their first victory, making France surrender 4-2.
The weather has been scorching so far, but when the rains come back, as they are predicted to Sunday, don’t expect the Americans to washout.

Women’s soccer final: Aug. 9, 7:45 p.m.

9. DIVE-DIVE, WIN-WIN
Santa Cruz native Ariel Rittenhouse and partner Kelci Bryant got as close as any American has been to winning a synchronized 3-meter diving medal when they took fourth in Beijing. A lot can change in four years and, after going through burnout and then a revitalization, Rittenhouse, competing in the individual 3m, didn’t make the team bound for London. Bryant did, however, and will try to break the U.S. into the medals with new partner Abby Johnston.
The best chance for a synchro medal, however, lies with the men. Stanford student Kristian Ipsen of Walnut Creek and his partner Troy Dumais, a four-time Olympic veteran out of Ventura, won 3m synchro at the US Trials. Dumais finished fourth in 3m synchro in 2000, the first year it was recognized as an Olympic sport. The men’s 10m synchro team of David Boudia and Nick McCrory also stands a medaling chance after dominating the trials.
“There are crazy things that happen in the Olympic synchro finals, which Troy is used to, so he helps me through it as best he can,” Ipsen said. “Our most realistic medal chance is in synchro. There are only eight teams, and three get a spot. I think we have a good chance.”

Men’s synchronized 3m final: Monday, 3-4:05 p.m.
Men’s synchronized 10m final: Sunday, 3-4:15 p.m.
Women’s synchronized 3m: Sunday, 3-4 p.m.

10. Will the Saudi Women Even Show Up?
After much political pressure, Saudi Arabia, the only country in the Games to have not sent a woman, agreed to designate two female representatives. The women selected were not particularly steeped in the soil of the country, with one being UCLA 800-meter runner Sarah Attar, who was born in California and holds dual citizenship. Yet, it was a small first step for a country with intense restriction on women in sports.
There has been much speculation, however, as to whether the women would actually make it into the competitive arena. On Wednesday, the International Judo Federation issued a ruling that Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani would not be allowed to wear her traditional hajab during competition. Shahrkhani, 18, who has never competed, has not issued a response as to how she plans to handle this rule change, if at all.

Women’s 800m Final: Aug. 11, 6:45 p.m.
Women’s Judo Final [78kg]: Aug. 2, 2 p.m.

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Seeding for the London 2012 Tennis competition has been announced

PRESS RELEASE

Roger Federer has been named as the top seed in the men’s Singles Tennis tournament which begins at Wimbledon on Saturday.

Wimbledon finalist Andy Murray is seeded third behind Federer and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.

David Ferrer of Spain is fourth, with France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fifth, while CzechTomas Berdych, Serb Janko Tipsarevic and Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro make up the top eight.

Unlike at the grand slams, where there are 32 seeds in a 128-strong field, the Olympic Singles tournament is a 64-man field featuring 16 seeds. It’s the first time since tennis was reintroduced to the Games as a medal sport (at Seoul 1988) that it will be played on grass.

World number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus heads the seedings for the women’s Singles with Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska second, followed by Russian Maria Sharapova and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams of the USA.

The men’s Doubles field is headed by American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, with defending champions Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka seeded sixth.

Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond of the USA top the standings in the women’s Doubles whilst their countrywomen Venus and Serena Williams, the Beijing gold medallists and Wimbledon champions, are unseeded.

The draw for the Singles and Doubles takes place on Thursday. The entries for the mixed Doubles will be decided over the weekend with the draw taking place next Tuesday.

Categories: Andy Murray, Athletes, David Ferrer, Events, Olympics, Press Release, Roger Federer, Tennis | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The crowds in London

Julie emailed me tonight to let me know that I might be able to steal a shot of the Opening Ceremonies final dress rehearsal, but it was pretty lae already and I had settled in. But, not one to miss a dramatic night shot, I sprang into action (slowly rolled off the bed). When I got to the Olympic Park I was shocked for two reasons: first, I missed the rehearsal so I wouldn’t get any shots. Second, the crowds were huge. I mean really huge. I somehow made my way up alongside the massive crowd being held back by security to ease the load on the public transit system. This was a section of the crowd on a bridge, shoulder-to-shoulder two dozen people wide and 100-150 meters deep. I made my way to the back when I had a thought … hey, I’m a photographer and this seems like an interesting story. So out the camera came and I shot away.

People were getting frustrated and no one liked being in that crowd for so long, but to be fair to the Olympic staff and security, they kind of had to hold people back. That many people all trying to catch trains, buses and subways all at once would cause even more problems. But I really felt bad for the people in the crowd. Especially since I now was one.

I slipped past one group and made my way to another behind them being held back for their turn to descend upon the bridge, only to be held back again before they could enter the station. I waited for them to move, got my shots and looked around for my own exit. I found it in the mall. Yes, thank God for the mall.

You enter the mall on the second story and can go downstairs near the entrance. So down I went and sure enough I was able to walk right into the station to get on my train with no problem at all. I’m a sneaky little guy.

Anyway, here are the four photos I sent off to the paper. I hope they find a way to use them because I didn’t see any other photographers there. SCOOP!!!

Categories: Behind the Scenes, Olympic Preparation, Olympics, Photos | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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