Posted by: Goran Razic
My second Winter Olympic Games. This time - a little bit different engagement. While in Vancouver 2010 I was present as a Skijanje.hr's reporter, this time I was there both for Skijanje.hr and Croatian Ski Association as well. During two weeks in Russia, I had a task to photograph all important alpine ski events for Skijanje.hr. Not less important was to document organization aspects and other events as well. Besides photography I also produced several blog articles about the most interesting moments in Sochi, with special aspect on behind-the-scenes of this largest sports event in the world. On the other hand, Croatian Ski Association needed photos of all alpine ski representatives for their press releases, official website and social network pages. After a long plane/bus journey it was a real thrill to bump into very optimistic members of alpine team crew, from Vedran Pavlek to Janica Kostelic up to main logistics man and Pavlek's "side kick" Nenad Eror. "There is a supermarket, here is the hotel, and there... there is Medal Plaza. We'll be there tomorrow evening!", said Nenad in blink of an eye. It doesn't take long to be carried by emotions. Emotion wave is very strong and olympic spirit takes you while you're still on a plane, landing with eye-catching view of olympic torch, that could be seen miles away over Black Sea. I haven't seen more beautiful sunset in a while; stars in a sky, white peaks of Rosa Khutor shined by red rays of raising sun from above and olympic torch flame beneath. Most memorable scene that I have never expected. It was again so wonderful to be Croat at the Olympics. Red-white squares were again "in", all because of one man, man that has been making us proud and happy with his achievements for almost two decades. I'm talking about, of course, Ivica Kostelić. As it was expected, medal was won! Some might say why not gold, why for the fourth time the same medal? But, this was again a big day for Croatian sports. Croatia has medals in alpine skiing in each of the last four Olympic games!
Photos that are launched from Olympic games to the world are important part of olympic story. Assumption is that almost a third of 13.000 media representatives are - photographers. Battle for better photo, better photo spot or crucial second is reality here on a daily basis. As much as 100 sport events are squeezed in less than three weeks time. That guarantees dynamic from minute to minute, not only for athletes but for media people as well. Events often overlap, which woudln't pose a problem if they weren't held on 6 or 7 different locations that are sometimes set apart even 50 km. One should, however, keep in mind that situation in Sochi was in spite of everything the most simple ever - they were the most "compact" Olympic games so far. All locations were built meaningful, targeted and transparent and venues were very accessible to all visitors. This kind of event requires a special set of gear - ski and safety equipment, adequate clothes and footwear (jackets, ski pants, ski boots, mountain boots, hats, several sun glasses, severas pairs of gloves, ice crampons, skis etc.) as well as photo equipment. Photo shootings were done with my Canon 1D mk4 and for several days I also used borrowed 1Dx. Lenses included 16-35 f2.8L, 70-200 f2.8L, 300 f2.8L and 400 f2.8L IS. My trustworthy F-Stop Tilopa bag carried all of that. And it once more proved to be very practical and reliable, even in case of heavy rainfall
At the end some interesting figures:
- 40 thousand people were responsible for safety and security aspects. Some unofficial data says that this number reaches even 100.000 - army, police, special forces with guns, but also Kozaks, regular guards and the ones who we know nothing about but their presence is sensed - man in black, secret service and friendly civilians that just want to help but they don't let you out of their sight.
- 739 branded buses operated daily to make possible all needed
transfers; additionally more than 200 of theme were held as backup.
- 25.000 volunteers, of which 3.000 foreigners.