BT Road to 2012: Aiming High

While there’s no shortage of Olympics talk, news, panic and excitement at the moment, it’s often easy to lose sight of the actual people that make the event happen.

Jodie Williams b.1993 Photographed by Nadav Kander, 15th December 2011, London
Jodie Williams b.1993Photographed by Nadav Kander, 15th December 2011, London © Nadav Kander – National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project

A new show opening at London’s National Portrait Gallery looks set to celebrate the faces behind the London 2012 Olympic Games, with a photographic exhibition of more than 40 portraits by photographers Anderson & Low, Nadav Kander and Jillian Edelstein.

The exhibition, called BT Road to 2012: Aiming High, is the final show in the London 2012 series at the gallery, which has included the Road to 2012: Setting Out show in 2010 and last summer’s Road to 2012: Changing Pace.The third part of the trilogy is the final piece in the three-year project which has created 100 newly commissioned photographic portraits celebrating the people who will make the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games happen.

The stunning photograph above is by Nadev Kander, who captures 18-year old athletics star Jodie Williams with this dramatic chiaroscuro. It’s a beautiful image, which really shows a different side athletes from the sweat-and-lycra snaps we usually see.

Williams, who’s studying for her A-Levels, currently holds three world junior and youth titles in the 100 metres and 200 metres and is reigning world junior champion at 100 metres. ‘Jodie asked how she could become an Olympic athlete after school sports day when she was seven years old,’ says Jodie’s mother, Chris. ‘Her focus and competitive drive are amazing.’

Beth Tweddle b.1985  Beth Tweddle (third from left), Hannah Whelan (left), Jenni Pinches (second left) Rebecca Tunney (right).  Photographed by Anderson and Low, 17th November 2011, Liverpool
Beth Tweddle b.1985 Beth Tweddle (third from left), Hannah Whelan (left), Jenni Pinches (second left) Rebecca Tunney (right). Photographed by Anderson & Low, 17th November 2011, Liverpool © Anderson & Low – National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project

The gorgeously arranged shot of the gymnasts is by Anderson & Low, showing 27-year old gymnast Beth Tweddle with fellow gymnasts Hannah Whelan, Jenni Pinches and Rebecca Tunney at the City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club where they train. Tweddle has competed at two Olympic Games and is now three-times world champion.

But it’s not just athletes the show celebrates. Head of catering, cleaning and waste for LOCOG,  51-year old Jan Matthews will be in charge of serving a very Olympian 14 million meals over seventy-seven days.  Jillian Edelstein photographed her at Spitalfield Market, looking rather dashing behind these plastic curtains.

 

Jan Matthews b.1961  Photographed by Jillian Edelstein, 8th November 2011, Smithfield Market, London
Jan Matthews b.1961 Photographed by Jillian Edelstein, 8th November 2011, Smithfield Market, London © Jillian Edelstein – National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project

BT Road to 2012: Aiming High runs from 19 July – 23 September  at the National Portrait Gallery, 2 St.Martin’s Place  London WC2H

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