Switzerland - Lausanne

by Kimp 31. January 2018 17:51

Photo Blog (click to view)


The Roman's built a military camp on the Lake Geneva shore, near current day Lausanne. When the Roman Empire fell, Lausanne was move to top of a nearby hill, because that was easier to defend.

For a time, French Protestant Preachers would seek refuge here, before returning to another part of France to work quietly on the reformation. If they were exposed, they would return to Lausanne to hide-out for a while.

At the start of the Napoleonic Wars, officials decided it was in the cities best interest, to become part of the Swiss Federation.

Modern day

Today Lausanne is surrounded by picturesque vineyards.

It is the smallest city in the world to have a metro urban rail transport system. Once you have walked from the Lake Geneva shore line, up the steep hill to Lausanne, you will know why the metro system has no problem meeting their yearly operating expenses.

During World War I, the International Olympics Committee moved its headquarters from Paris to Lausanne, and it has been here ever since. On the same grounds, is a very nice Olympic Museum, filled with art work, equipment, memorabilia, and a behind the scenes look at an Olympian’s life in the Olympic village.

Today there are 55 international sports organizations with offices in Lausanne, and it is home to the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

When Sport's entered the political arena, an arbitration court was needed to resolve dependencies between the athlete's and those upholding the rules. Arbitration is the process whereby both parties, agree to have a discrepancy, resolved by an independent and impartial arbitrator. Most recently many of the arbitrations seem to revolve around the issue of doping. In my opinion, it is very sad that international sports have evolved into yet another political quagmire of differing opinions. What happened to the sporting mentality in sport?

My History

The 1992 Summer Olympics was hosted in Barcelona. Paralympic Archer, Antonio Rebollo Liñán shoots a lighted arrow from the ground, through the pitch-black darkness, 60 ft (20 m) above, in what looks like a strong wind, to ignite the Olympic Cauldron, during the opening ceremony, and likewise, igniting a frenzy of interest in the Olympics. Not only did he light it, it was nearly a perfect shot.

The total distance from where Antonio shot the arrow, to the torch was about 230 ft. It is said, that feat is not a difficult shot, for a skilled archer. The difficult part, is doing it, in front of a stadium full of spectator's and million's a TV viewer's. Some 200 archers underwent psychological evaluations, and Antonio was the one that they felt was best suited to not let that bother him. Four were picked, and Antonio was chosen as the first alternate. Best suited, but because he was from Madrid, and Barcelona prides itself on being Catalonian, they really wanted a Catalonian archer to light the cauldron. Two hours before the event, the pressure didn't get to Antonio, but it did get to the organizers. They decided the best choice was to give the honors to Antonio instead. The attendant who handed the bow and arrow to Antonio was visibly shaken, but Antonio was solid as a rock. The drama is intensified by how methodically and concentrated he aims, draws back slowly, pauses slightly, then let's it fly, with great confidence and demeanor. two seconds later, whoosh, the cauldron is ablaze, the crowds bustout in cheers, and the organizers can finally breath again.

The organizers had a way to light it manually, had he missed. But he said, "No, I brought a second arrow. If the first misses, I guarantee the second will not.". There was no need for that second arrow and in 700 practice attempts over the course of several months before hand, he only missed twice. For months, once a week, he would fly from Madrid to Barcelona, to practice.

The pedestrian view of the high diving platform overlook's the city skyline below. A photographer's best dream. The motto that year was "Friends for Life". It just doesn't get any better than that, in both vision and feeling.

Bob Martin snapped a shot of Tracy Miles performing a straight back dive, off of that high dive. I think I saw it in Life magazine in 1992.

When I was in my early 30's, a next-door neighbor had a very nice in-ground pool. He was much older than I, his wife had died, and he had three daughters who would visit him from time to time, but nobody ever used his pool. He said that he maintained the pool, like his wife liked it to be maintained, when he told me I could use it anytime I wanted. I got the feeling that he liked my character, trusted I would not abuse his offer, and that it would make him feel better, if someone got some use from it. "Sure, that would be great. You sure are kind."

Not wanting to intrude on his privacy, I only used it when he wasn't home. Once I was at his pool, and a 10-year-old or so, female gymnast, aspiring to be an Olympian, came over and tried to teach me how to perform a straight back dive, off the side of the deep end of his pool. No board, just right off of the cement rim that was about at the same level as the top of the pool. I can remember her saying, "Craig, it's eeeeassssy!!! All you do is, bend your knees as much as you can, spring up as fast as you can, arch your back as much as you can, and It will naturally pull your feet way above your head. You will enter the water perfectly vertical and head first.". I think she sensed the skepticism, in the look that I gave here. Upon which, she proceeded to demonstrate a perfect looking straight back dive from pool-side. Perfect vertical entry with hardly any splash.Then while wading in the water, she urged me to give it a go. "Craig, come-on!!! it's eeeeassssy!!!".  She sure exuded a lot of confidence in me, and it started rubbing off on me. "Geeee, I don't know? Welllll?!?. That didn't look that difficult. OK, I'll give it a try.".

That was the last thing I said, before I nearly broke my back. One of the those classic, "What the hell was I thinking?", moments. Let's slow down and put it in perspective. That's the voice of someone who can perform an unassisted standing backflip off of a 4 inch (2cm) wide balance beam. And stick the landing, back on the beam, exactly where she launched from! I'm a dude who has never performed a gymnastics movement in his life. There is nothing at all that is natural about that movement. It takes a tremendous amount of spring to generate the needed hang time, a tremendous amount of back strength to generate the rotational movement, and a tremendous amount of inner core strength to pull your straight legs all of the way over your head. I was lacking in everything but guts. The only think perfect about my dive was the perfect tidal wave that it created. To my credit, I did somehow manage to get all of my body in the water. No-one was there to watch, but if they were, they surely would have been busting out laughing at me. "Here, hold my beer, and watch this !!!"

Hurt back and hurt ego. I said to her, "Thanks for the free lesson, but you are probably better suited to teaching real athletes.". To top that lesson off, as I was exiting the pool right after that miserable dive, via the pool-side ladder, I busted through the top rung, and my momentum carried me all of the way through the middle and bottom ladder rungs as well. Just another normal day, of nothing going my way. Embarrassed as well, I immediately removed the ladder, took it to a local pool shop, and had them replace the thick plastic rungs with stainless steel rungs. To this day, I always step on the side of ladder rungs nearest the rails, never in the middle.

Bob snapped a photo, just as Tracy reached the apex of her dive. Her front was facing the sky, with her back arched in a semicircle, directly over the famed Sagrada Familia (a famous Barcelona architectural landmark, created by Gaudi), as if she were a superhuman, shielding it from an Alien invasion. The quality of that photo was not great in my opinion, but it showcased the artistic supremacy of Bob, and made me a fan is his for life. If you have ever seen a high dive in person, the amount of time a diver is at the Apex, is probably around 1/1000th of a second. In fact, it happens so fast at real speed, most people don't even see it. He had to have both, the artistic vision to position himself in the perfect place to take that shot, and impeccable timing to pull it off.

Bob is from England, has photo journalized the last 15 Summer and Winter Olympics, and every top international athletic event in-between. He has been published in Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Life, and the New York Times. Bob holds the coveted National Press Photographers Association - Photo Journalist of the Year award (I think twice), and currently is a piad consultant, by the International Olympics Committee, to consult on photographic issues. I have never aspired to be a great, nor even a professional quality photographer, but I could not pass up the chance to spend a few hours listening to him talk about what he views as his greatest achievements. The equipment, the setup, the research, the day's events, the chance encounter's, what he had for breakfast. He remembers every shot, like it was yesterday.

I asked him if there was anything he missed about the photography of days long past? He said that he still misses the old school black and white film photograph's, because those are the only photos that still eclipse modern day electronics. (I agree, there isn't much better than an Ansel Adams Print. The color just gets in the way of the view.)

Do you post edit your photo's? In Commercial photography, any type of post editing is both allowed and expected, but sports photography has to be virtually as taken. The only accepted technique, is adjusting the contrast a bit. Sport's has to be true to life, to be acceptable.

Are there any great shot’s left? Sounded like he enjoys Paralympic events and athletes, and see’s that as the next level of great photography.

That experience was a special day for me.

Bob's Site

Photo Blog (click to view)

Thank you for reading.

I'll see you next time,



Sports | Travel

Comments (1) -

2/8/2018 2:27:18 AM #

Bob is very talented, but a very hard way to make a living.  Everyone with an iPhone is a photographer now, but it takes a real eye to be a pro.  Lots of competition.  I felt that back pain in the diving story.


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