So, I can't help but notice there's some big sports event just round the corner. I also couldn't help but notice that I've photographed quite a large number of athletes from Team GB. To mark both these occasions I thought I'd put together a little gallery post. I've had a good look at the Team GB website to check exactly who's made the final team, but apologies if I've put someone in who didn't make it, or missed someone out. And whilst I'm on the subject I reckon it's a pretty hard website to navigate, and the less said about some of the Athlete's headshots the better....
Mark Lewis-Francis. Taken at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, back in 2004. He was up against the current editor of Runner's World, and it was a bit of an unfair contest.
Steve Lewis, taken in 2007 at Loughborough for a feature for Runner's World called, neatly enough, "Stars of 2012". I've bumped into Steve twice at Loughborough when I've been back for other shoots, but as anyone who's visited the place knows, it's crawling with Athletes, so that's no great coincidence!
Lisa Dobriskey, taken at Loughborough, for the same feature about an hour after Steve, and just after a torrential rain shower, if memory serves me well.
Richard Kruse, for a Men's Fitness feature way back in 2004, taken at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair. The sort of place where I feel a little underdressed!
The marvellous Helen Jenkins, taken near her home in Wales on the beach. This was back in 2008, and she went on to win the World Championships about a week later. I must have said the right things.
The frankly quite awesome Brownlee Brothers, both shot in Leeds, and both times for Men's Fitness. I watched the race in Hyde Park last summer, which took place on the same course as the Olympic Finals in a few weeks, and they romped home to 1st and 2nd place. Very high hopes for medals here.
Holly Bleasdale, taken at a media day in Manchester earlier this year. I shot her again a few weeks ago at her old secondary school, and I'm still amazed at the balls it takes to throw yourself up in the air at the end of a long pole.
Andy Turner. The action shot was taken up at the Lea Valley athletics centre for Men's Fitness, and the lifestyle shot was taken during that reality TV show "The Exclusives" that I worked on briefly back in March. He was a true pro on both occasions, and very happy in front of the camera.
Dai Greene, taken at Bath University a couple of years ago for Men's Fitness. An example of how just how fast your shutter speed needs to be to freeze action. In this case, mine's not fast enough!
Lawrence Okoye. He really is that big! Taken at the Lea Valley Centre for Men's Fitness last autumn. Law student, Rugby player, and potentially Olympic discus champion, he's a pretty impressive figure.
Ed Clancy, at Manchester Velodrome for Men's Fitness, taken whilst he was on rollers. If he'd slipped he'd have hit me very quickly indeed, as he was pedalling at quite a rate.
Fran Halsall, taken for a PR company on the beach near her school. 10 out of 10 for standing in a swimsuit in fairly cold weather, and 11 out of 10 for the swimming masterclass she'd just given to a group of children an hour earlier.
Robbie Grabarz at Alexander Stadium a couple of months ago for a PR agency. His coach demonstrated how high Robbie can jump, and it's about the height of me, and most of me again. God knows how he does it.
Andy Triggs Hodge, at Team GB's Rowing centre near Reading. It's a cracking venue, the gym has nothing but weight stations and dozens of rowing machines, and there's a private lake (in shot) for them to train on. Might help explain some of our recent medal success. That and some very hard work on the part of the athletes of course!
Nigel Levine, at Brunel University for Men's Fitness. He's very fast, and seemed to really enjoy training, which is quite important, seeing as all these guys spend the majority of their time doing it.
Mo Farah, taken for Lucozade at Brunel University last Spring. In a repeat of the Dai Greene problem mentioned above I struggled to freeze his motion as he ran past. The speed he can keep up over distance is quite intimidating, and like lots of people on this page, he's a pretty good medal hope for the Games.
Jon-Allan Butterworth. The only paralympic athlete I've photographed, which is a great shame. Taken at Manchester Velodrome for Men's Fitness last month I was able to witness some of his training regime, and also saw some "secret stuff" in the gym, which obviously I won't be sharing!
Philips Idowu, at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham for Men's Fitness. I know he's big and gangly, but it's still quite hypnotic watching him jump - it's all arms and legs being thrown into the air.
Liam Tancock, at Loughborough for Men's Fitness. It was shooting him, and watching him in the pool, that made me realise just how bad my own swimming style was, and that I really should go and get some lessons. And so I did, and thanks to my local pool, I can now swim much better!
Nick Dempsey, down in Weymouth for Men's Fitness. There was very little wind, but that didn't seem to stop him from building up a frightening amount of speed on his board. I spent most of the day floating about in a RIB with a very long lens on, which, having done it before, is a shortcut to sea-sickness.
Chris Tomlinson, seen here hurdling stuff rather than doing the Long Jump like he should be. Shot at Lea Valley for Men's Fitness, and like Mr Idowu he's quite hypnotic to watch as he sails through the air.
Jessica Ennis, who is just great, frankly. Taken at the EIS in Sheffield for Runner's World, this was just after she'd "accidentally" chucked one of these medicine balls at her coach, in front of all the media. His response can't be printed....
Pete Waterfield, in a gym in Southampton for Men's Fitness. Having shot dozens, possibly hundreds of athletes and sporty types over the years, I can honestly say I've never seen anyone with more core strength than Pete.
Stu Hayes, in Bradgate Park in Leicester. A very pleasant afternoon, shooting in a park I used to visit with my Grandad when I was a lad! No agent, no manager, just me, him, and my assistant wandering around the park and finding nice spots to shoot in.
Not a bad haul, and I can't find the pics of Ben Ainslie from 9 years ago, as my archive isn't that well organised! I make it 26 (including the absent Ben), and so besides cheering fairly loudly for Team GB in general, I'll be cheering even louder for all of this lot!