This was certainly one of the more interesting days I’ve had in a while. 24 hours ago I got a call that I would be photographing the US Olympic Medal winners for the Chicago 2016 Olympic campaign. An amazing bunch of humans.
They were all in great spirits even though they have been shuttled around, interviewed, photographed and pulled to within an inch of their lives in the last couple of weeks in and after Beijing. Easy to work with and no grumbling attitudes. But I guess when you’ve spent your whole like working to get to this point, you’re pretty damn happy.
Michael Phelps was clearly the main attraction and to say my time with him was limited would be an understatement. I had what amounted to three one minute sessions with him during the course of the day. Enough to jump into position, take a dozen photographs and jump out again before he was whisked away to his next interview and back again for another minute or so a short time later.
Through it all, he was pleasant, although clearly tired and seemed to be the kind of guy who you’re happy to see getting ready to enjoy the spoils of multi-million dollar endorsements that come with a lifetime of training. Yeah, he deserves everything he’s getting.
Many of them took time to great their fans lined up outside the Hilton waiting for all 120 of them to arrive, fresh from a taping of Oprah in Milennium Park. None of them seemed too rushed to spend a few moments and even agreed to a few, “Can I get a picture with you?” requests.
There’s a lot of debate about whether Chicago will end up hosting the Summer Games in 2016, but there seems to be more than a few experts who say Chicago has a better than average shot at it.
One of the highlights of the day was meeting Marc Janovics, wearing his three silver and three bronze medals from the 2007 Shanghai, China Summer Special Olympic Games. He was soaking in all the olympic fun and was a very nice guy as well.
Jennie Finch from the incredible US Womens Softball Team was another famous face I had the chance to photograph.
It was a long, busy, frenzied day. But one I won’t forget for some time to come.