Tag Archives: London Olympics

Larry Slater Shoots Around The Wrestling World

You’d think that a photographer with press passes to every major wrestling event on the planet — including world championships and the Olympics — would make a ton of money from his shots.

You’d be wrong.

Larry Slater — a state champion wrestler on Staples’ 1974 team, now an attorney in Arizona — takes those photos as a hobby.

Leigh Jaynes at the world team wrestling trials. (Photo/Larry Slater)

He pays his way everywhere: to Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions in Oklahoma. To USA Wrestling and international events. To the Beijing Olympics in 2008. To London this summer.

Then he gives his photos away, to anyone who wants them.

Mostly, it’s the wrestlers themselves (and their families). Sometimes, it’s the media.

Larry Slater poses proudly with a signed team photo.

Larry’s expensive hobby began a decade ago. He represented Arizona State University wrestling coach Bobby Douglas during contract negotiations. When Douglas took over as Olympic coach in 2004, Larry started shooting. Back then, it was a way to get good seats at his friend’s tournaments.

Larry’s photographed every national and NCAA championship since then. He spends hours crouching by the side of the mat, then hours more preparing his photos for distribution. He uses sites like Smugmug, and also posts on Facebook.

What does he get out of it?

“Access. Passes. Front row seats. And I get to know the wrestlers personally,” Larry says.

Last May, when the US Greco-Roman team wrestled Republic of Georgia in Chicago, Larry was there. Two months later, a Georgian won a bronze in the Olympics. Larry was proud to provide him with photos.

Larry captures great action off the mat, as well on it. (Photo/Larry Slater)

Midway through London, the Americans had yet to win a medal. But Larry was having a great time. He was watching a sport he loves, meeting world-class athletes, helping promote the sport — and giving them lifetime mementos.

So how does Larry like the Olympics?

He spends most of his time taking or working on photos. But he has gotten out to see the usual tourist sites.

“The organizers have gone above and beyond,” he reports. “Everyone’s been great.”

And — unlike Beijing 4 years ago — “they all speak English.”

(Click here for a link to Larry’s London Olympics website.)

Ann Marie Flynn: Westport’s Own Olympian

When Ann Marie Flynn was an Olympic high jumper, she received the same perks as every other American athlete. A uniform. Housing. And a spending allowance: $2 a day.

Sure, that was the Melbourne games — back in 1956. But still…

Ann Marie — a longtime Westporter who, among other things, is a former Representative Town Meeting (RTM) member — is no longer a high jumper.

Ann Marie Flynn, throwing the hammer.

No, she’s not too old. She’s only 73.

She’s just moved on to other things.

Like discus and shot put. And hammer throwing. Just one year into that new sport last year, she ranked 4th in the nation. Okay, in her age group. But still…

Ann Marie was just 18 when she represented the US at the Melbourne Olympics. A year earlier, competing for New York’s German-American Athletic Club, she’d won the national AAU championship.

Facilities for female athletes back then were almost non-existent. She trained in Brooklyn — squeezing workouts around schoolwork, plus a 5-day-a-week, 3-hour-a-day job. She competed on weekends.

But Ann Marie qualified for the Olympics. The US held strictly to the IOC’s amateur standards. Other countries (Russia, East Germany, ahem) did not.

Ann Marie did not win a medal in Melbourne (She did earn a gold the following year, at the Pan American Games). Still, the Olympic Games were a defining moment in her life.

She realized the importance of friendships forged through international competition. She also made life-long friends on the US team.

In 2006, the squad held a reunion in Indianapolis. “We walked in like we’d seen each other yesterday,” Ann Marie says. “That’s the kind of camaraderie that comes from the games.”

She’s following the 2012 London Olympics avidly. “There are so many changes,” she says. For athletes, coaches and television viewers, she says, “It’s like leaving the dark ages, and coming into the light.”

But one thing hasn’t changed. “The spirit of the games still prevails,” Ann Marie says. “I saw it when everyone walked in for the opening ceremonies, and I know they’ll all feel it when they walk out. Everyone there will have memories they’ll never forget.

“Just like I do.”

Yesterday, as part of the Westport Library’s ongoing airing of the London Olympics, Ann Marie Flynn stopped by to watch — and answer questions. (Photo/Marcia Logan)