Thursday, January 14, 2010

Capturing The Olympic Flame

It's 8am, and as the frigid-arctic air permeates through my layers of clothing, I'm being ushered into the media zone to go over the "do's and dont's" of covering the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

Security is tight around the flame. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers dressed in running outfits guard the flame at all times as it travels from street to street, community to community--ultimately making its way to the 2010 winter games in Vancouver. The Olympic flame travels in a bubble of security, closely watched by armed officers disguised as runners, ordinary citizens cheering on the sidelines, and even riding alongside it on bicycles. In major cities, helicopters hover closely above it, scanning every perimeter and keeping a close eye on crowd control. Photographers and bystanders alike push their way as close to the flame as possible, but as the RCMP officers near them, they quickly get pushed back--some by using brute force. One photog told me that a Toronto Star shooter tried getting too close and was forced to the ground by an array of RCMP guards. The photog lost his two front teeth in the ordeal.

Fortunately, I've been able to keep my shinny whites and avoid this hassle by being granted a seat on Media One--the vehicle used to transport photographers. Inside Media One, we're given the best seats in the house to capture each runner with the flame. Positioned directly in front of the runner, we come face to face with them as each torch bearer run 300 meters down ice and snow covered streets--holding the flame above their head.

I'll be covering the Olympic Flame for a few more days before making my way south of the border to Salt Lake City, Utah to meet with the USA Speed Skating team. Below are just a few snapshots. Hope all is well. Please take care.


The view from Media One at night--following an Olympic Torch Bearer.

The view from Media One during the day time following an Olympic Torch Bearer. Crowds line the streets.

The view from inside Media One as we follow an Olympic Torch Bearer running with the flame. Photo: Chris Bolin/Canadian Press

Media One from the outside. Photo: Chris Bolin/CP

Posing with Olympic Torch Bearer Marie-Josee Raincourt and producer extraordinaire Jonathan Moser. Photo: Chris Bolin/CP

A mad-man with the torch.

Interviewing Olympic Torch Bearer George Pietersma.

8 comments:

Zoe said...

How exciting - stay warm! Looking forward to seeing more photos and posts~!

Hillbilly Duhn said...

awesome as always! :)

Chloie said...

You've got such a cool job!

Vera said...

Gosh, how interesting! I was particularly captivated with the accompanying guards-people jogging along beside the runners, and all those photographers wrapped up warm in the back of the media van. Thanks for introducing me to a different world, and is your camera really as heavy as it looks?

Manju said...

this is so so cool!and you're right in the middle of it all

Deboshree said...

Lovely!
Stay warm for the hundredth time!!

Love
Deboshree

Ron said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate them all very much--and promise to keep you updated. I'm sorry I haven't been able to read all your blogs lately due to schedules, but when given the chance, I promise to visit.

Vera: yes, the camera does look as heavy as it is depicted. Fully decked out, it weighs aproximately 25 lbs.

Ava said...

One word ... COOL !!
(Thanks for sharing the photos!)