With just a little over a week left here in Rio, myself and pretty much everyone on the USA Today Sports Images team has reached the point that we like to refer to as Groundhog Day (a take on the 1993 Bill Murray film where the same day keeps reoccurring over and over again). Groundhog Day at the Olympics usually entails having trouble remembering what day of the week it is, experiencing difficulty remembering whether you’ve eaten an actual meal yet, as well as giving up hope for more than four hours of sleep per night. Pretty much everything on my end is starting to run low, including the aforementioned sleep, energy in general, clean laundry, Cliff Bars, patience for late shuttle busses, as well as the strength to keep lugging a 400mm lens on my shoulder to every event I shoot (somehow it always ends up getting used).
I’d really hoped to share some deep, introspective musings through each one of my Rio blogs, but I gotta tell you guys, it ain’t (yes – I said ain’t) happening today. My mind is simply too spent to delve into anything worth writing about tonight, so I’m afraid this is going to be a pretty pictures update. I will, however, share some brief thoughts on the new events I’ve photographed over the last four days.
Table Tennis: 90% of people I shared my table tennis assignment with made a Forrest Gump reference / joke. The energy in the room as well as the introductions felt like I was about to see Floyd Mayweather step into a Las Vegas boxing ring. When those guys get going back and forth with that ball across the table, it is actually quite impressive. They are masters of the game.
Race Walking: What is the difference between race walking and running, you ask? With race walking, you have to have at least one foot making contact with the ground at all times. People seem to enjoying making wise-cracks about this sport, but these guys were out there giving it their all. I’d like to think I’ve done some great race walking here in Rio as well, but it’s usually to try and catch that shuttle bus that I’m late for.
Track and Field: I feel like this is the Cadillac of Olympics events. It was inspiring to see athletes in such fit physical condition sailing around the track as if they were somehow motorized. Olympic Stadium, the venue at which track and field is being played here, is massive.
Clay targets stand ready during the men’s skeet shooting semifinals in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Shooting Centre. After realizing that hundreds of these things were launched in just an hour’s time alone, I thought that there had to be an impressive stockpile of them somewhere at the venue. A little schmoozing later, and I had my photo of said stockpile.
Shooting: I ran the pun, “I’m shooting shooting today” into the ground quite early on. While going through the metal detector and X-ray at security to access the venue, I wanted to say aloud in my most ignorant voice, “Doesn’t everybody in there already have guns?” I thought better of this. My favorite part of the competition was skeet shooter Abdullah Alrashidi, who represented the Independent Olympic Athletes group (a new group set up for refugees who don’t claim a particular country). The crowd went wild with support each time Alrashidi shot, and he ended up taking bronze! Cue chills up spine and lump in throat.
I spent way too much time during qualifications trying to catch one of the clay targets the skeet shooters are firing at exploding in the air. In the end, I only caught it twice. Not bad considering I was tracking a 3″ wide object moving through the air at around 45mph with a 400mm lens.
Australian Jessica Fox’s hair flies up as she leaps on to the podium after winning bronze after women’s kayak finals.
A view through a sign as Austria’s Corinna Kuhnle prepares for the women’s kayak semifinals.
Guy’s Portuguese Word of the Day is, “Dormir,” pronounced, “Door-meer,” meaning, “To sleep,” as in, “Guy wants to dormir since he has to be up in three hours.”