London 2012: ‘everything I was expecting and so much more’

September 6, 2012 | By Gerard McGovern | Olympics, Photography, Photojournalism, Sport, What We're Working On

Today is my last day on the Olympic Park.

The journey to London 2012 started back in 2006, but I first “checked in” to our office back on May 27. When I arrived, it was a mere shell with empty desks and storage lockers. Over the month of June it was transformed in to space where our team of over 100 could create, manage and enact a plan to cover the biggest sporting event in the world. From mid July until the Closing Ceremony on August 12, the office was a hive of activity, filled with people from 12 Getty Images’ offices across the globe.

In pure numbers, we took more than 1.5 million photos and sent nearly 100,000 of them out to customers. That works out to be a photo every 12 seconds for every day of London 2012.

And as we promised, some of the photos will live for generations. We also tried out new technologies. It was the first Summer games shot in full colour 3D and the first to use interactive gigapixel photos. If you were lucky enough to be at the 100m final, we produced a photo so large that you can zoom in and tag yourself on Facebook. London 2012 truly was the interactive Games.

Producing that much content is hard work, but we also had a good time. The Olympics brings together people from around the world, and for the 16 days of the Games we had volunteers, colleagues, friends, the great British public and anyone else inside a venue becoming part of one big Olympic family. Families share experiences and none have been quite as remarkable as this one.



A man and boy have their photograph taken as the sun sets behind the Olympic rings on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)



David Weir of Great Britain wins the 400m T54 mens race during the Paralympic World Cup on May 11, 2008 at Manchester Regional Arena in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)


Once the flame was extinguished, a whole other event started; the Paralympics.

London 2012 was the biggest Paralympics in history and never before have we seen sold out venues and this level of interest. They show us all what can be achieved when talent and determination combine. Sport is sport and really can inspire a generation. Our team continued where they left off with the Olympics and not only produced the same high quality photos but many had the added edge to make you stop, think and reflect.

And soon, sadly, it will all be over.

London 2012 has been everything I was expecting and also so much more. There were times when I doubted if we could get everything ready in time and other points where I was crying with joy. I’ve been amazed by the power of sport and humbled by the skill and spirit of the Paralympians. I’ve seen strangers embrace and a whole city come together as one. We’ve raised the photographic bar higher than any of us could have imagined.

Thank you London 2012 and thank you to everyone at Getty Images who made it possible.

Now, Rio 2016 …

Editor’s Note: Gerard McGovern is a Senior Manager, Events for Getty Images, and frequent contributor to the Getty Images blog. Read more of his posts here.


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  • http://blog.gettyimages.com/2007/03/16/ncaa-tournament-day-one Zohaib K

    Well written article
    no doubt London Olympics was amazing
    there were joyous moments, emotional moment and a lot more
    in the end turned out a great event

  • http://fudbalsrbija.net/ Fudbal Srbija

    The opening ceremony was amazing, very well organized. Great article, thanks.