This month, it was my ambition to create a collaborative piece with a sports photographer whose work I really admire.
That photographer is Mark Pain. Mark was named Sports Photographer of The Year in 2011 at the British Press Awards. You can see more of his work here.
The London 2012 Olympics is now barely six months away and one of the events I am most looking forward to watching is the Diving which will take place at the Aquatics centre. I’ve always found there to be something mesmerising about the sport of diving, so for my latest piece of writing, I have sought to encapsulate some of the mental and physical processes, the concentrated preparation and overall repetitive, if not addictive pursuit for perfection, that this sport can resemble.
I approached Mark about using his photograph which accompanies my piece because, for me, it encompasses the art that is diving, albeit within that split second in which he took the picture. The first time I saw the picture, I also couldn’t help but notice, that the residue of spray from the diver’s hair, inadvertently creates the image of a circle, and, in my mind, the image of one of the five Olympic Rings. The circular motion and image we are left with, is also iconic of that underlying process and mental dedication, of doing something over and over again, until one is perfect at it. That sensation, I feel, is so present in this sport and I hope too, in my latest piece of writing.
DIVE WITH ME
Through the blue, again and again
Fingers are raw; I can feel it, the pain
Take the impact, correct the momentum
Climb all the steps, ad infinitum
Hear the instruction, try to agree
Wipe all the remnants of water from me
Approach, then focus, be still and call it
In flight, make it right, succeed at this height
There’s a second, I feel it, isolation mid-air
Wait for it, begin falling, twist and prepare
Breath holding firm, stomach held tight
Snap out, align and glide out of sight
Ears, mind and soul are blocked just right then
Re-enter, rejoin and pray for a ten
Look up above you and shake off the wet
We acknowledge your dive, lest you should forget