Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A behind-the-scenes view inside the Main Press Center at the Tokyo Olympics

It is my first day on the Olympic property and as is normally the case, it was a day full of transportation confusion, sleep deprivation, hunger (I will tell you about that in a little bit) and just trying to get the lay of the land here. I literally spent the seven hours in the Main Press Center (MPC) and did not even have a chance to visit any of the venues. 

This is what the MPC looks like when first entering the building. All of these stations are help desks for the media. General help, accommodation help, transportation assistance, technical support and more.

Here is a a view of the MPC from the top floor of the building.

Before I could do anything, I needed to eat. I was starving from not having eaten much the night before, and pulling an all-nighter. I tried to get breakfast at my hotel, but that did not go well. I went to the attached restaurant for breakfast (since complimentary breakfast is always included at Olympic press hotels) and the server said "We have fish." I try to explain to him that I have fish allergies and his reply was "We have fish". I asked him if the had something else and he said "We have fish today and everyday. Just fish." So...I skipped that breakfast and waited another couple of hours until I could find something at the MPC. I found a little cafe that had some pre-made sandwiches and that did the trick. This is where I ate.

It took me a while to find the photographer's work area, and the first thing I saw when entering the room was the Canon CPS help desk area. Yay! I got a chance to say hello to some of the Canon Japan employees, and they were incredibly nice. 

I was told that they were scaling back their efforts at the Olympics (for safety reasons), but they were busy as ever today.

This is a view of the photographer's work area, taken from in front of the Canon booth...

...and this is a view of the editorial work area. You know, those writers of the news you see in print and online.

As I made my way around the MPC, I found this pizza and burger place. I ended up eating a late lunch here with Greg Mescall (my buddy from USA Water Polo) and the pizza was actually pretty good. I will remember this place for the future.

There is a small souvenir store in the MPC, but many of the Olympics items can actually be purchased outside the store at these automated kiosks.

There is also a small market in the MPC where we can buy food, drinks, medicine, and other useful items.

Then it was time for me to go upstairs to visit my friends at the US Olympic Committee office. But on the way to their office, I stopped by the Covid testing area for my daily test. Each person is given a test kit and sent into an area to do their best spitting.

Nothing fancy about this, but it works.

Yep, I took a selfie of me spitting in a tube. Sorry, but I had to do it! :)

I made a quick visit to the USOPC office, but found out that the tickets for the Opening Ceremony would not be delivered for another couple of hours. So I went back downstairs and picked up my Olympic gift (backpack, with some cool things inside) and also got my locker.

I also went and picked up my photographers vest, which means that I am officially ready to photograph my seventh Olympic Games. For those of you who have not followed my other Olympic journeys, this vest allows me to photograph in the venues. No vest, no shooting. I will guard this and my camera equipment with my life.

After many hours went by, I went back up to see my friend Bill. He has worked twice as many Olympics as I have and has been the go-to guy for the press for all those years. Bill is in charge of allotting the tickets for all the high-demand events for the USOPC. Those are events where all press want to attend, but there are not enough spots for us all. Each organization gets a set amount and we rely on Bill to get us into those press limited events. 

Once again, Bill came through and I will be at the Opening Ceremony in 2 days. Every time I get this ticket I feel like I am Charlie in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and I am holding the golden ticket. This one is going to be really weird, to be in a huge stadium with almost nobody in the attendance. You would think that we could move anywhere we want. But I have been told that we have to stay in our assigned seats since the Olympic Broadcasting people have video cameras mounted all over the place, and they don't want us blocking their shots. I will let you know all about that in a couple of nights. For now, it is time for me to answer email, shower and get some sleep.


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Jennifer C. said...

Wow is all I can say! I so enjoy these detailed posts about the "behind the scenes" at the Olympics. Thanks so much for posting these and letting those of us at home experience it along with you!

Jimmy D. said...

It's as if we were there. Thanks for all these reports

Unknown said...

Please let us know how the r3 feels once you get a chance to use it..

Unknown said...

Love hearing about daily activities especially in such a unique and wonderful place. Been to Japan and eager to see where you'll be going next. Hope to see you again in Africa. It's great enjoying the Olympics with you.

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Anonymous said...

Enjoying reading about your adventure!