Friday, January 28, 2022

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics: NEW TURN OF EVENTS - I AM NOT GOING!

I just wrote a blog post on Monday telling you that I was going to photograph the Winter Olympics in Beijing. At the end of that blog post, I said that things could change at any time. But at that time, I really felt that everything was a "go". I called JAL and paid for my flight and confirmed everything with Team USA. 

Then one day later I started hearing about charter flights being cancelled because so many attendees are pulling out, NBC not feeling it was safe to send their broadcasters, other news organizations pulling out, and a friend sent me this article:

I also heard about many other close friends and family members who currently have Covid, making me wonder if it was my turn at any minute.

Although I was never really feeling 100% about my decision to go, I now fell right back into my turmoil of the back and forth or deciding to risk it or pull the plug.

I have been working on the planning process for Beijing for more than a year, with the major work being done since returning from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo just 6 months ago. The thought of pulling out, after all this work and stress, kills me. But, I felt that under the circumstances, there was only one choice to make. 

With that, I reached out to my contacts at Team USA and told them that I was scrubbing the trip. To say that this is a hard decision is an understatement. It isn't the cost of the airline penalties, it is the sadness of not photographing something I love so much. I have already seen ads on television for the Winter Olympics and received many messages from friends who are taking the risk and going, and I have to admit, it stings a bit.

I also know that there are many of you who reached out to me this week and told me how much you were looking forward to the photos and stories from these Games. I feel bad that I can not share those personal stories with you all.

So...for the next 3 weeks, I will be joining many of you watching the Olympics on television. It will be the first time in 15 years that I have done that. And yes, I am sure that it will be with mixed emotions for me. 

I did have an idea that I am trying to put together now. That is, to have my friends who are in Beijing do some guest blogs, or allow me to interview them and write stories from their perspectives, using their images and experiences. I will be just as interested in what they are dealing with, as all of you. I hope to have more information on that soon.

I would like to thank all of you who have reached out with your points of view, words of encouragement, and overall support.

I just hope that this pandemic ends soon, and that we can get back to normal! Oh...and that Paris 2024 is back to normal too!


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Bigaldo said...

Sorry to hear that Jeff real kicking the guts but your health and safety must come first just have to find something to fill your time now

Unknown said...

As much as I will miss your photo journey there, I totally agree with your decision and wish you the best. Hang in there and best wishes going forward.

SpencerJ said...

Love the idea about interviewing and blogging the people who are going.

Sansra said...

I know this had to be hard. I was one that was looking forward to living vicariously through your experience, but not at the risk of your health or safety. I choose to look at this as a glass half full type decision. Just think of the amazing photos and the warmth you will have in your heart when you get to hold your grandchild. There truly isn’t anything better!!

Jim Martin said...

I think you are wise to sit this one out. As a fellow photographer, I feel your pain. I've enjoyed your past Olympic pictures and posts. But you are going with your gut and that will keep you safe and sane in the end.

Aankhen said...

Very glad to hear this. As hard a decision as it no doubt is, you made the right call. Your health has to come first. Please take care and stay safe.

Ralph Hightower said...

It was a difficult decision to make. I don't know what COVID is like and don't want to know. I have asthma and I imagine that COVID would hit me hard. I got pneumonia in 2018 and that was no fun. The only fortunately thing was the timing; it happened when South Korea hosted the Winter Olympics. Coughing night and day interrupted my sleep pattern. I watched many events live, bobsled, curling, etc. I saw the USA women defeat Canada in hockey for the gold.

OnlyInCA said...

I know what a nightmare it was to make this decision, especially with all the meticulous planning that had to go into it to get ready, but I'm convinced you made the right decision to skip it this time and was really worried when you said you were going. The negatives were just too great. Love your idea of hosting some people who are there for a live taste of the events. Thanks for all your insights and your blogging. Congrats on the upcoming grandkid--that's really worth being present for!

Unknown said...

Better safe than you can enjoy that grandchild!!!

Bob F. said...

We all enjoy-no, treasure-your Olympics posts, but we can’t fault your decision. Once again, you’ve shown that you are a really smart guy!