10
Aug

Following the amazing semi final game three days ago in which USA edged out Canada in a nail biting thriller it was going to be hard for the gold medal game vs Japan to compare. Or so I thought. Continue on and you tell me if it compared…

The game would be my second consecutive Womens Soccer gold medal game. The last one I shot was in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Here is the 2008 blog post that included a few photos from that game.

The previous two USA women’s games I shot up in Manchester at Old Trafford. This game would take place at Wembley Stadium.

Its always cool to visit new stadiums. After some of the stadiums I have been to around the world, its hard to impress me. Other than the little step stools photographers had to sit on, this stadium was awesome!

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Manual

With Japan being a win away from a gold medal, the Japanese media were out in full force. Id say they outnumbered American media 10-1.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

With so many photographers there I would end up getting a lackluster shooting position. Instead of being in the end zone portion of the field, I would instead be relegated to the sidelines. I guess when my boss said arrive four hours early I should have listened to him!

I won’t lie, my spot had me in a bad mood at the start of the game. The team benches were on the other side of the field from me which is never good. The reason I say that is because when a team scores a goal they usually celebrate looking back towards their teammates on the bench.

I would just have to make the best of it!

USA goalie Hope Solo guards the goal early on in the game. She would have to be on her game for USA to have a shot against Japan.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Only eight minutes into the game USA would strike first courtesy of a goal by midfielder Carli Lloyd. I shot her sending the ball into the net but I was blocked by other players so lets move on to the celebration.

By complete and utter dumb luck, Carli would run to my corner of the field and slide with her arms out as her jubilant teammates rushed in to savor the moment.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

As I was shooting the celebration I had to laugh at how the last place I wanted to shoot from would reward me with a great celebration. I’d rather be lucky than good!

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

The celebration was so perfect for photos that I was praying there wouldn’t be another goal in the game. Why you ask?  If there is only one goal then there is only one celebration which means the photo would be in higher demand than if it was the first of four goals on the game…

Within seconds of shooting the celebration I already had the images up on my computer for a quick edit before sending them out. When I began to send the images I would find out that the wireless card I was using got a horrible signal inside the stadium.

When the task bar said 8 minutes to send ONE photo I had to quickly abandon that plan. Eight minutes is an eternity in this digital photography age so I had to do something fast.

One of the other photographers I was covering the game with had ethernet wire to his laptop on the other corner of the field so I put the images on a flash card and literally ran at top speed around the field to get him the images to send for me.

Running at top speed with a bad cold was no fun at all but I ran a Usain Bolt like pace and was back at my spot within three minutes to get back to shooting.

Hope Solo would have a monster game where she would make some acrobatic moves to keep Japan from scoring.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

The hair of Alex Morgan flies all over the place as she heads the ball in the first half.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Midfielder Carli Lloyd would show us how NOT to head the ball in the below frame where she would take it to the face against a Japanese defender.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

USA forward Abby Wambach battles for the ball with Japan midfielder Homare Sawa during the women’s soccer gold medal match in the 2012 London Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe (15) goes up for a header with Japan forward Yuki Ogimi.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 2500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

As day turned into night we would be rewarded with a beautiful pastel colored sky for a few minutes. Initially I shot it without the players near me but decided it would look a lot cooler if there was some sort of action going on.

Its not a flying player or anything cool but I would have to settle for USA defender Amy Le Peilbet inbounding the ball to a teammate.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

We would go into the half with USA up on Japan 1-0.

The score wouldn’t stay that way however, as Carli Lloyd would strike again!

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

With the score now 2-0 in favor of USA I started thinking the game was now over and all USA would have to do is eat up the clock.

Boy was I wrong.

Less than 10 minutes later Japan would put a goal past a diving Hope Solo to make the score 2-1.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Hope wasn’t happy.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Carli Lloyd battles with Japan midfielder Homare Sawa for the ball.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

USA forward Abby Wambach (14) collides with Japan defenseman Azusa Iwashimizu after they both leapt into the air for the header. Wambach would go to the ground for a few seconds but would be back up and running moments later.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Heres another acrobatic Hope Solo save against a ball shot on goal by Japan.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

As the clock hit zero and the refs whistle signaled the end of the game I would look for the star of the game, Carli Lloyd and shoot her as she raised her arms into the air towards her teammates on the bench.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

USA players swarm goalkeeper Hope Solo (1) after defeating Japan 2-1 during the women’s soccer gold medal match in the 2012 London Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Many of the American flags that fans had been waving all game would end up in the hands of the happy players who proudly celebrated with old glory much to the joy of the cheering fans.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The celebration lasted for a good 10-15 minutes, which gave me lots of chances to shoot celebrating players like Hope Solo…

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

and Megan Rapinoe.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

For the medal ceremony one of the other photographers I was working with would be out on the field to shoot the presentation of the medals.

That meant I could take a risk and try a different angle. If it worked out then great! If not the other photographer would get the important moment.

Almost all of the other photographers set up in a corner on the other end of the field. I didn’t wanna deal with the below mess so I would take my chances shooting it from the other end. Part of the reasoning for this was also due to me feeling like total hell and not wanting to run all the way around the field to get to that spot. (security wouldn’t allow photographers to walk down any further on the one sideline I was standing at)

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

The spot ended up producing a decent photo for me as Team USA celebrated on the podium.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f6.3, 1/640th, Manual

Alex Morgan celebrates with her flowers and gold medal following the ceremony.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 3200iso, f6.3, 1/640th, Manual

That wraps up a great women’s gold medal game. Only four more years till I can shoot the next one in Rio de Janeiro.

Here are a few newspaper covers I found in a quick glance on Newseum (Click image to see bigger)

I wish you could also view front pages of all the various Sports sections from around the country as I’m sure there would be many more.

I have a Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to “like” the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!


 
Posted in 10 Spot, Olympics, Sports   2 Comments

2 responses to “Team USA women take the Gold over Japan”

  1. madison s says:

    Hi Mark,
    My dad, Greg Simmons is your friend on Facebook.i am his daughter Madison Simmons .i just wanted to tell you that your pictures are AWESOME!!!!!

  2. Rick Samsal says:

    Awesome set of photos…Glad to see that you can pull off great shots while under the weather..Your photos do the team great justice!! Great work, once again….

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Check out my Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to "like" the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!