Thursday, August 2, 2012

Flashback to Athens 2004 - Men's Gymnastics All Around Final

Flashback to Athens 2004

The Men's gymnastic all around was last night.  In Athens, the men's all around was one for the books. In case you didn't know, in 2004, Paul Hamm the favorite fell on the vault.  Didn't just sit down.  Stumpled and literally almost fell off the podium (the judges had to stop him from falling off completely).  He then managed to have unbelievable routines to come back and win the gold.  And since I worked in gymno, I got to watch it all unfold.  The atmosphere in the arena when he fell was crazy.  Shocked I think for most people.  And then watching his final routine - the high bar - it was electric!  I think everyone knew they were watching something special happen.  And then when it came out that he won.  Oh wow.  Yelling everywhere (including from all of us).

His medal ceremony was the first time I got to hear our anthem played during a medal ceremony.  I have to admit, I was shocked by how emotional I got hearing it.  It was honestly a very special moment and not something I think can easily be topped (and I would get just as emotional the next day when Carly Patterson became the first female to win since Mary Lou).

But one of my favorite moments actually happened immediately following the medal ceremony.  The NBC booth was positioned just off the center of the arena, so we had great seats for the medal ceremony.  And next to us were all the photographers.  Right after it was over, a man tapped my shoulder and said (in a very Russian accent), "You are American, no?".  I answered yes and he replied, "I thought so".  Then he gave me a roll of film.  I stared at him for a moment and then he said "You were so excited to watch him win and since I have more rolls of the medal ceremony then I will need, I want you to have it.".  And then he said "I was there when Nadia won - I know how it feels to experience it".  He then proceeded to explain to me how to have it developed and I thanked him.  It was awesome.  And so kind of him.

And then, I saw him the next night at the women's final.  He asked me if I had processed the film yet.  When I said I didn't know where to get it processed in Athens and I'd wait until I'd get back to the States (my brother is a professional photographer and I was hoping/assuming he'd know how to do it), he told me to take it to the print journalist version of the International Broadcast Center (I can not remember it's name) and to go to the photography department, give his name and they would process it for me.  So I did.  And when I dropped it off, explaining who I was, the women said, "ah yes, he told us you would be coming".  And they were amazing photo's.  I don't remember your name, but thank you for your kindness.  Just one of the reason I love the Olympics!

Unfortunately, I don't have any digital copies of those photos (I should try and find some way to get them uploaded), but I do have some other photo's from that night.  Enjoy!
Looking good on Pommels to start
All good on still rings...
And then it all goes wrong
Not good 
Coming back on the final event to win it on the high bar 
And he does it! 
So proud Paul!
 More stories to come!

*all images original to sarah in the city, please don't repost without sourcing this site

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