Pyeongchang 2018: Sounds Wild

001_soundswild_022318A woman takes a selfie on the beach in Gangneung as seen through a sculpture set up for the Fire Art Festival in conjunction with the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

002_soundswild_022318It’s been another two days of beautiful sights and disconcerting sounds here at the Winter Olympics and Phoenix Snow Park. I really wish I could record some of the sounds I hear athletes making during competition and share them with you all here. In my previous entry, I detailed how I was yards away from a French ski snowcross rider who wiped out and proceeded to wail in agony for the next several minutes until the medics got him stabilized.

Thursday would bring another Frenchmen tumbling down near me (Kevin Rolland on the halfpipe), filling the chilly air with his moans and groans as he slid motionless down the icy bowl. Again, these real-deal sounds never seem to make it through on television, and perhaps that’s by design. We are made to believe that these athletes are larger-than-life immortals and not putting themselves in any real danger. The past couple of weeks here have reminded me that these competitors (save for, perhaps, the folks over in curling) are risking it all each time they set out on course.

I also got an unexpected ear full of aggression this morning during the ladies ski snowcross finals. It’s a given during a final of any sport that tensions begin to run high as athletes push their limits to finish ahead. As a group of skiers came past my photo position, I heard one of them scream out at the top of her lungs in frustration at another skier who was too close to her–another “real” moment right before me that I’d never hear on TV. I exchanged a surprised glance at the photographer who was shooting next to me, since most of the other skiers had come down that morning in complete silence. In that moment, the quiet, serene mountain scene of freshly fallen snow from the night before was pierced with the tension of competition. If only I could capture that sound in my images!

003_soundswild_022318Beau-James Wells (NZL) competes in the mens halfpipe final.

004_soundswild_022318Kevin Rolland (FRA) reacts after falling during his run in the mens halfpipe final run three. Rolland moaned with pain below me for what seemed like minutes before the medics finally helped him to his feet.

005_soundswild_022318Air Traffic Control: Alex Ferreira (USA) and a broadcast helicopter in the mens halfpipe finals.

Would you believe I also heard the sounds of waves lapping onto a beach in-person just a day ago? Sure enough, I got to check out the coastal town of Gangneung (about two hours in bus rides from where I’m staying) with colleagues Kyle Terada and Jake Huber. Gangneung is situated along the Sea of Japan on the east coast of South Korea. We were intrigued by many sculptures on the beach there that are part of the Fire Art Festival that is being held in conjunction with the Games. Saturday night, the sculptures are all going to be set ablaze. I’d love to go back to photograph that, but I’m not sure we will have time.

006_soundswild_022318Sculptures on the beach in Gangneung as part of the Fire Art Festival in conjunction with the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

007_soundswild_022318A sculpture titled “Temple of the Soul: Two Suns” stands on the beach in Gangneung as part of the Fire Art Festival.

008_soundswild_022318A server picks up an order of fresh boiled crab legs from the cook at a seafood restaurant in the coastal city of Gangneung.

The sounds of hissing pots and boiling water also fill the streets of Gangneung, as sea food restaurants that line the shore will cook almost anything you can imagine right there on the street in front of you. From crab legs to octopus to other unrecognizable sea creatures, the menu is really only limited by your imagination (or your ability to stomach the exotic).

009_soundswild_022318David Wise (USA) celebrates after winning the gold medal after the mens halfpipe final during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park.

Guy’s Korean Word of the Day is, 소리, pronounced, “Soe-dee,” meaning, “Sound,” as in, “Sometimes the 소리 I hear at The Games leaves me feeling very uncomfortable.”

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Sports by Guy Rhodes on February 23rd, 2018.

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