Perdita’s Fall and Return

It was late. I was struggling to get to the main Olympic stadium in Athens in 2004. The Olympic games were in full swing, and a huge medal hope for Canada, Perdita Felicien was set to race in the women’s 100 meter hurdles event. As I reached the stadium from another event there was just minutes to make it to the finish line to photograph Felicien’s race. At the track you can either shoot down low or stand on one of the raisers for the race. I was too late to get to one of the low angle spots where you can generally get a clean dramatic shot of the runner coming across the finish line. And with it being the Olympics, the first across the finish line usually means a lot of great jubilation. But I missed the window, I was setting the setting on my camera for the race when the announcer said, “on your marks.” A few moments later the starters’ pistol went off and the race was on. Felicien drove out of her starting blocks and on her first hurdle, her foot caught the top of the barrier and down she went. Arriving late at the event I was in the perfect spot for a photograph of her going down, taking Russia’s Irina Shevchenko with her.

Perdita Felicien's fall into Russia's Irina Shevchenko, Athens Olympics 2004.

The fall, according to the CBC turned out to be the number 1 story of the Athens Olympics for Canadians. I will always remember that warm Greek night.

This past weekend, 7 years later, Felicien won her 10th National Championships in the Women’s 100 meter hurdles here in Calgary. This year I was early for the race, as again Felicien was one of the top stories at the track meet. I had a remote camera down low and at the last minute I shot the race just a little bit higher so I could see her clear all the hurdles, just in case. In great form she came out and won the race, much like she should have at the Olympics. The Toronto Star ran my photo of her winning the race yesterday below. The Toronto Star is simply on of best games in town, it’s a great newspaper. I hope in another year she can win a medal in London, the one she missed in Athens, I think we would see a very excited Canadian.

Perdita Felicien wins the gold medal at the Canadian Track & Field Championships, Toronto Star Sports front.



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