Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

Swimming in a sea of pictures

Several weeks back I was told I would be having a serious case of the blues for a fortnight - processing pictures of the swimmers, divers and water polo players competing in the FINA World Championships in Shanghai. Pictures from the event would be edited by China chief photographer Petar Kujundzic and sent to me and my colleagues Karishma Singh and Allison Ching in Singapore to process and transmit to clients.

For two weeks, I would be looking at a sea of images where the main color was blue. So it made me nervous whenever I saw my least favorite color - green - appear on skin tones. It took constant communication with the on-site photographers and editor as well as the Picture Desk team here in Singapore, not to mention close scrutiny of the histogram in Photoshop, to ensure the athletes didn't look jaundiced or ill. In fact, correcting the color on pictures taken in the swimming pool in Shanghai was as challenging as it was in Beijing three years ago when I processed aquatics images at the Olympics.

Speaking of challenges, I wonder if processing swimming pictures and physical "hardship" go hand in hand. In Beijing I was at the Water Cube, cut off from my colleagues at the media center and having to make a daily trek up 115 steps to the top of the press tribune area. I worked on a 14-inch laptop with barely an inch of elbow room, often perspiring in the warm environs. Here in Singapore, I was banished to a corner affectionately called Siberia because it is cold, quiet and almost hidden from view from the Picture Desk team. The lighting was rather dark, too. Editing images was done on a 17-inch monitor, which still cannot compare to the 22-inch Macintosh screens that the sub-editors on the Picture Desk work on every day.
But despite my complaints about the Water Cube, it was absolutely thrilling to watch the events unfold live before my eyes. Working on the FINA Championships pictures in a country removed from all the action lacks such excitement, but there still exists an adrenaline rush from subbing and sending them to the wire in the quickest time possible.

Beijing opened my eyes to all the possibilities of making images in a water-based environment. The beauty of water is that it creates almost other-worldly effects in a still image, making it look like a painting or sci-fi scene. It then became easier for me to identify and mark these pictures from Shanghai as top pictures.

Thorpe risks reputation by jumping back in the pool

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USA/Ian Thorpe’s decision to make a return to competitive swimming has already raised the prospect of a mouthwatering clash with Michael Phelps at the 2012 London Olympics, but at the possible risk of damaging his reputation.

As one of the greatest swimmers of all time, Thorpe’s chances of making a successful comeback cannot be discounted but the odds are stacked against him adding to his collection of five Olympic gold medals.

Does athletics still rule the Olympics?

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Dash or splash? Which is the number one Olympic sport?

Athletics has massive crowds and Usain “Lightning” Bolt torching world records while swimming boasts Michael Phelps ripping off another bundle of world and Olympic records.

Conversations over the past week indicate the argument is heating up.

First, respected U.S. sports analyst Bob Dorfman suggested: “Because of the drug issues, because it (athletics) is not terribly compelling, I think swimming has taken over a little bit in terms of Olympic sports popularity.”

from Olympics Notebook: Vancouver 2010:

Winter Games podcast — day seven

vancouverpodday7edit

Our latest podcast from downtown Vancouver focuses on the little differences between cultures, the giant war of words between the figure skaters and the surprise visit of the multi-medal winning Michael Phelps.

Sportswrap: redemption special

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Click on the video above for our latest look at the week’s sporting highlights, including an interview with Andre Agassi (in full Edith Piaf mode), the thoughts of Michael Phelps on his trial by textile and the almighty scrap for the last nine World Cup places.

As always, Sportswrap is presented by Owen Wyatt, written by Kevin Fylan and produced from our Canary Wharf HQ.

I just swam the world championship pool

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In the midst of a deluge of world records at the world swimming championships, I was close to breaking the mark for the slowest ever time.

Journalists at the Rome event were given the chance to swim in the outdoor 50 metre pool just hours after Michael Phelps and Federica Pellegrini had graced the same starting blocks and water.

*These swimming world records are different

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There were 11 world records in the first two days of the Rome world swimming championships and there are bound to be a bucketful more.

Fans and swimmers should be delighted with such achievements but instead the atmosphere is a little strange.

G-strings, the bare-faced solution to swimming’s problems

With the row over space-age bodysuits threatening to engulf swimming, it was only a matter of time before a top athlete lent his voice to calls for a radical, no-nonsense solution.

Japan’s Ryosuke Irie reckons racing in skimpy G-strings might be the best way — indeed the only way — to ensure a level playing field before the bodysuit wars tie swimming up in so much red tape the public lose interest.

Greeting scandals with a shrug

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phelpsWe have become numb to news that our heroes are not who we thought they were.

Word that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez had taken steroids in 2003 made the headlines across the United States. It widened our eyes but did nothing to our hearts.

Perhaps we simply do not care like we used to.

Rumors swirled years ago that home run kings Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire had taken steroids and it angered us. Though neither has ever been proven to have taken performance-enhancing drugs, we were shocked, angered and bewildered at the suggestion.

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