On Thursday afternoon, I headed out to the Fengtai softball stadium to see the Canadian women's softball team go through a practice. Their sport is in danger of being dropped from future Olympics and they invited me along to see the normally closed practice.
I think I was the first media type to come to the venue as the volunteers (there are approximately 70,000 of them working at the games from all over China) were exceedingly diligent in checking me at security, having to even open my wallet and notepad. The volunteers in the media office were very happy to show me around and I had two people assigned to show me all the photo locations and get me water if need be.
I shot photos for an hour or so and went into the media office to dry off from the heat before the 45 minute long trip back to the Olympic Village and was surrounded by 10 volunteers all eager to look at a real western journalist up close. It turns out that many of them were in journalism or photography courses and loved looking through the big cameras and talking about the business for a while. It was a lovely little personal moment with no official anything getting in the way.
One funny note today-I was shooting some diving practice from a small window in the bottom of the pool and who knew that the divers swimsuit rode up and flew down so much when they hit the water. That's the real reason why they take so long to surface, they have to rearrange the wardrobe before getting out of the water.