Olympics 1984 Carl Lewis

‘This photograph of Carl Lewis at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics is  probably the photograph I am most proud of technically.

I arrived late that afternoon to the Coliseum and I knew I wanted to make a picture of the greatest sprinter and long jumper of his time. I immediately realised the head on classic long jump picture was not a possibility, as there must have been one hundred photographers crammed into the head-on position. So I decided that I would try a running picture, as he was the fastest man in the world, and I wanted an impression of speed.

The light was fading fast so it was ideal for a slow shutter speed. I found a spot in a sort of illegal position, sitting at the bottom of some spectator steps parallel and about half-way down the long jump pit run-up. I pre-focussed my Canon F1N camera with a 135mm f2 and just waited. I decided to set the shutter speed at 1/30th of a second and the aperture at f2 right at ‘the wide open’ limit of the lens on the Fujichrome 100 ASA film.

Taking a deep breath I followed his run down the run-up, and started shooting as he approached the point directly opposite me that I had focussed on. He made a good jump, so good in fact he did not have to jump again, so I had only one chance and like him I made a ‘gold medal’ my own gold medal!’