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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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August 16, 2008 6:49 AM

Olympics: No joy for Gay

Posted by Rod Mar

Tonight was supposed to be a huge night of track ("Athletics", according to the Olympics) at the Bird's Nest.

The men's 100 meters was tonight, featuring three of the fastest men ever vying to become known as the "Fastest Man on Earth".

USA's Tyson Gay was one of the three, along with Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.

Gay strained a hamstring at the U.S.Track Trials in Eugene, costing him valuable training time.

Even though he claims the hamstring is 100%, he didn't look like the same guy who ran a wind-aided 9.68 in Eugene before his injury. Wind-aided or not, that time is still the fastest any man has ever run.

Today, however, was not Gay's day. He finished fifth in his semifinal heat.

When I can, I am trying to shoot from somewhere not very many people are shooting from. For the 100 meters, most photographers are shooting from a huge riser at the finish line, looking back up the track. For a more unusual angle, I thought I'd go high, especially after seeing the Olympic rings painted on the track.

Here's what it looked like from the very top of the stands in the first semifinal.

(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4 lens, ISO 1600, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Assuming Gay advanced, I'd shoot from here for the finals and hope he was in a middle lane.

However, it became apparent (and easy to see from my vantage point) that he was struggling, so I stayed with him as he ran down lane nine (furthest outside).

At the finish, a fourth-place finish looked close, if not in doubt.

(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4 lens, ISO 1600, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

After the race, you could tell that he did not think he'd qualified by finishing in the top four of the heat. Standing off to the side by himself, he looked at the scoreboard, and his face and posture said it all.

(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4 lens, ISO 1600, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Jamaica's Usain Bolt continued his unreal dominance of the event, winning easily in 9.69, and he appeared to ease slightly at the finish line.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/4 @ 260mm, ISO 2000, 1/1000 sec.,f4.0)

(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4 lens, ISO 2000, 1/1000 sec.,f4.0)

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