One of my greatest all-time olympic moments was capturing Catriona LeMay Doan winning the gold medal for Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake, Utah. It was really early on in my sports shooting career and I was actually shooting a commercial job in Utah at the time. My client had a place I could stay there and asked me if I would like to stay for the olympics. I said “YES”… and thats when my olympic journey really began!
The day of Catriona’s race I was actually out shooting mogul skiing. I had heard that Catriona was in the finals and I decided to try to get to the venue which was very far away. I was told that it was impossible to make it there in time by several people, but I trusted my gut. I went anyway, even without a ticket to the event or accreditation. My positivity perservered and I was able to get to the venue in time and was even given a ticked by a coach I bumped into outside the arena.
During her two laps of the oval I got some of the best shots in the world of Catriona’s win on my Nikon D1X (my first pro digital camera). During one of the laps I decided to take a risk and do a pan shot where I shot at a much longer shutter speed than normal and panned the camera perfectly to have Catriona sharp but give the background a motion blur. I got lucky with the red background and nailed the technique… the feeling was exhilarating!!
I am very proud to have been able to give Catriona the composite of images that I used in this feature which she hangs on her wall and many wonderful images for her book. When she retired from speed skating they printed a 16×20 foot print of my pan shot of her and unveiled it at the Olympic Oval in Calgary with a plaque under it with my name. I feel honoured to have been able to capture Catriona’s gold medal win with excellence and be able to contribute to our Canadian athletes and the Olympics with my own talents.
I learned two important lessons here that have been transformative in my life:
• When the opportunity calls out to you … always say YES!!!
• When you trust your gut and are willing to take a risk and just go for it, the payoff is always tremendous!