Special Olympics

Special Olympics’ mission is to offer people with a mental impairment the opportunity to develop through sport. The international organization, created by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, celebrated its 50th anniversary in Chicago this summer. They trusted AFP-Services to cover the festivities in photo and video, among which an international football tournament and other games and animations.

AFP-Services was in Chicago during five days, from July 17 to 21: se sent 5 photographers and 6 videographers, all of whom are based in the United States. And in order to process up to 12,000 photos a day, an editor had been dispatched from Paris: Antoine Lajoie, who was on his first field mission. He  explains to us how he worked and what impressed him.

What did the work entail?

Over the first four days, with the football tournament bringing together a total of 23 teams (men and women), it was a pretty heavy schedule with some 12 matches a day. From the stadium press room I received photos, with an average of a thousand per match and per photographer. The challenge was to feed the organizer’s database as well as their social networks, in order to communicate live on the event, and select a hundred photos per day for the AFP Forum database, so that they were available to AFP clients.

How are the photos selected for a competition of this nature?

Like any sports competition. The photographers concentrated on the actions of the game, dribbles, shootouts, etc. Some phases of play could be very technical, some players were really talented, so I had no problem finding good photos.

What are you most happy about?

That the mission was a success. The client was satisfied with the coverage at all levels and told us so. This  does us proud and confident about the prospects for AFP-Services. Having worked jointly with Special Olympics members in the field, I could see that the organization was square, impressive. If this organization is little known in France, it is much more so in the United States, even at a national level.

Woud you do it again?

With pleasure, of course. The World Summer Games will be held next year in Abu Dhabi, this time there will be more sports to cover, and more photos to provide. I really hope AFP-Services will be chosen again for the assignment. Fingers crossed!

Any thing funny for the road?

Yes, on the last day of the festivities, an autistic youg man from the Bangladesh team disappeared, and the news was relayed in the local media. I managed to find a portrait of him in all the photo production, which our video editor sent to several television channels. The photo was indeed used on a national scale. The athlete was found 500 km away, among distant relatives. This portrait probably didn’t solve the “investigation”, but I like to believe it did.