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Athlete Falls, Media Pounces

Jefferson Perez is sometimes described as Ecuador's greatest athlete. The former Olympic gold medalist race walker and a three-time world champion completed his the 20k race today, finishing with a silver to end his Olympic career. He walked back into the maze-like mixed zone, where his first stop was with the television cameras. While doing an interview, he wobbled, then collapsed.

There were a few cameras up and in position during the interview, but quickly the mob took action, hovering over the fallen walker and pointing the cameras straight down. More and more media joined the crowd. Some volunteers rushed over with a stretcher, but had to navigate their way through a mass of cameramen.

Volunteers tried to push back the lightweight fencing to give the medical crew more room, forcibly shoving the cameramen back. Once they got Perez on the stretcher, it was another trip through the media gauntlet to a nearby ambulance.

Perez turned out to be fine. After perhaps 15 or 20 minutes inside the ambulance he emerged and walked off under his own power with a diagnosis of dehydration. So no harm was caused. And by posting these pictures, I'm surely being just as exploitative as the cameramen pointing down. So just put another item in the "things that make one proud to be a journalist" file.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 16, 2008; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Olympics  
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I'm not sure which is worse, rushing to take pictures of the guy or take pictures of the media taking pictures of the guy....

I'm disappointed you didn't get closer, Dan.

Posted by: sitruc | August 17, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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