Let's think about sports pictures.
Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
The teenage Pele cries after winning the 1958 World Cup final with Brazil in Sweden.
It's now the 1960's – a young Cassius Clay stands over the fallen figure of the 'unbeatable' Sony Liston; a smiling Bobby Moore is raised shoulder high by his teammates clutching the Jules Rimet Trophy; Tommie Smith stands on the medal podium in Mexico City and clenches his fist in a black power salute.
These are iconic images that even those not around at the time recognize.
Now fast forward four decades – Fernando Torres of Spain scores the winning goal at Euro 2008; Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates as he smashes the world 200m record to claim his second gold medal at the Beijing Olympics; Lewis Hamilton waves the Union Jack after becoming the youngest winner of the F1 drivers title.
One thing connects these magical moments through the ages – AP photographers were there to capture the images that mattered.
I have witnessed at first hand the changes in this business. When I joined AP, limitations in technology meant that many football matches were reduced to 'two best' coverage. That would mean an incident-packed 4-2 match, littered with red cards, had to be summed up in only two photos! In the pre-online days, and when one or two images rose above the rest, this was on some occasions surprisingly possible. However, with the rolling deadlines of the Internet age demanding regular updates, we now operate on a different level.
Our aim is to provide a narrative of what occurs at the events we cover. At a football match we need action, reaction, goals, injuries, yellow and red cards, the coaches, spectators, plus a whole host of regionals. At a World Cup alpine ski race I don't just want the winner in action – I want the top 10. I want crashes and finish area reaction – both celebration and dejection.
These days AP's coverage of sports events is about as comprehensive as you can get. It's a case of "You name it, we cover it." We have hundreds of photographers region-wide to call upon. Many are sports specialists – all of them bring to a sports assignment a high level of news judgment. Obviously we deploy more resources on the major events, but we never lose sight of our regional needs.
If you look at a sports calendar then you can rest assured that we are at every major sporting event - be it the French Open tennis, the Champions League final, Wimbledon, the Tour de France, or the entire F1 season, we will be there slugging it out with our opposition, determined to get to you the key moments before our competitors. At the same time I know that sports that don't register in some parts of the world are a big deal elsewhere. We provide selective but solid coverage on these, therefore you'll see biathlon, badminton and baseball to name just a few as part of our sports report.
AP Global Sports Report will cater for advocates of both traditional and new media alike; whether like me you read your newspapers starting from the back page, or also as I do keep updated on the latest sports happenings from your mobile or laptop. AP Global Sports Report is the most relevant and up-to-date platform to receive AP's sports copy.
When I took on the role of AP International Sports Photo Editor, one of my first aims was to increase the flow of information between AP's global network of bureaux. The goal was to have constant feedback after an event was covered, so that lessons learned from an event well covered, could be implemented for the next one. Likewise, the lessons of a poor showing had to be taken on board so that they would not happen again.
Feedback is good.
So, please feel free to email me, or make a comment via the AP Global Sports Report Blog
on the quality of our sports photos. I may not agree with you all the time, but our dialog will prove just how accessible the AP is.
This flow of information is even more important as we plan for the major events of 2010 and the unique logistical and editorial challenges that a multi-sport Winter Olympics and the first soccer World Cup tournament on African soil will present us.
AP International Sports Photo Editor
T: +44 (0)20 7427 4254