Photo show shines like Olympic gold

It’s a chance to relive the thrill of the 2010 Winter Olympics through the lens of Progress photojournalist Jenna Hauck.

Jenna Hauck's Olympic photo exhibition

It’s a chance to relive the thrill of the 2010 Winter Olympics through the lens of Progress photojournalist Jenna Hauck.

Her exhibition, 14 Gold, is proudly presented at the Chilliwack Museum Jan. 18 to Feb. 27.

“Photographing the 2010 Olympics was the most exhilarating assignment of my career,” says Hauck.

Fans are in for a treat. She has been part of group exhibitions before, but this is the first solo show of Hauck’s award-winning photography.

What is intriguing about the show is that the majority of the 45 images she shot and filed for Black Press never made it into the printed pages of The Progress.

“This show, 14 Gold, is Chilliwack’s chance to finally see what I experienced in Vancouver and Whistler,” says Hauck.

Fittingly, the exhibition will be on display during the same time the 2014 Olympics is taking place in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7-23.

Hauck hand-picked the highlights and big moments from 2010 to spotlight in her solo show.

She distinctly remembers the first gold medal won by Canada on Canadian soil, which was men’s moguls with Alexandre Bilodeau.

In her shot, Bilodeau’s head is back and his fist is pumped in the air in triumph.

What was interesting, she says, is that she wasn’t even there to shoot Bilodeau per se. Also pictured in the shot beside him is West Van resident Dale Begg-Smith, who she was targeting in the shoot. He was skiing for Australia and placed second in the same event.

“Bilodeau was ecstatic,” she remembers. “He was completely over the moon with his gold medal win.”

But his fellow Olympian was looking totally dejected at that precise moment.

“To capture those polar opposites in the same photograph made it a memorable image.”

There are more stories from the non-stop excitement.

She got up before dawn and came home way after dark for about two weeks straight to shoot and file pictures from the events, minus a few days off in between.

It was gruelling, and the pressure to perform at a high level was non-stop, but the experience was also incredibly rewarding.

“I included some gems in the exhibition that I overlooked at first when I was shooting. They weren’t for publication, but they’re fun photos that no one has seen.”

One of those she titled, Headless Skier, and the striking image took second place for Olympic feature photo in the News Photographers Association of Canada’s 2010 Pictures of the Year competition. It shows American cross country skier Torin Koos leaning on his ski poles and hanging his head down in sheer exhaustion after his run.

But his head is obscured by his body in the photo, and the athlete eerily appears headless.

“My lens was on the skier the entire time. I just followed him after he crossed the finish line, and was waiting for the celebration shot with his teammate. I captured this instead.”

But the quintessential example of how exhilarating it was to be there in person, was at the gold medal game between Canada and the U.S. for men’s ice hockey final.

“I knew it was the most important game, being broadcast around the world, with millions of viewers watching,” she recounts. To be in the actual arena, not sitting at home, but seeing it first hand as Crosby scored the winning goal, was almost unimaginable.”

It was like time almost stood still. The atmosphere was charged.

“No one knew until a few seconds later that the puck had gone in the net,” Hauck says.

There was a delayed reaction.

“I was following Crosby because he had the puck. I saw him shoot, but I didn’t see it go in. But I saw him react. That’s when I knew it went in.”

Crosby’s arms were by his sides, as he skated into the far corner.

“He threw his gloves off and screamed. That’s when everyone knew he’d scored.”

But in the shot, you can’t actually see the puck. Just Crosby gliding behind the net, starting to celebrate his goal.

“That gold medal win for us at the end of the games, was Canada winning the Olympics. It was a perfect way to end the 2010 Olympics.”

The opening reception for 14 Gold: Images from the 2010 Olympics is Saturday, Jan. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Chilliwack Museum, upstairs in the Chambers Gallery (45820 Spadina Ave.). Admission to the opening reception is free. Gallery hours are Mondays to Fridays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, and $2 for students and seniors.

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