Tuesday, September 4, 2018

LeBron James, Robert Harting and Trackerati

Close Encounter in Berlin
Copyright 2018, Mark Cullen/Trackerati, All Rights Reserved 

Please watch this 15 second video before reading this post:


On the left is LeBron James, United States basketball star.

On the right is Robert Harting, 2012 Olympic discus champion and three time World Champion who retired on Sunday after the ISTAF Meet in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

Ducking and running for cover is yours truly.

James is a basketball hero with an international reputation.

Harting is a track and field hero with an international reputation and the biggest athletics star to retire since Usain Bolt left the sport last year.

Australian Athletics correspondent Matt Lynch captured their meeting outside the so called ‘mixed zone’ of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday, the area where athletes and press meet for interviews. Special thanks to Lynch for his permission to use this footage. As of this writing, it has had almost 16,000 views. 

In this clip, James is presenting Harting with a #23 Lakers jersey signed by the King. In addition, James also offered support to 800m star Caster Semenya by meeting with her.

Neither Harting nor Semenya was aware in advance that these meetings would take place.

Here is Harting's Instagram post, with credit to photographer Tilo Wiedensohler for a terrific image: Harting and James. This shows the front side of their memorable meeting. 

Said Instagram poster 'landwrong': "here's a pic of one of the greatest athletes of our generation with some fan in a hat."

Semenya's Instagram post: Semenya and James 

Said Semenya to James, "You just made my year for showing up to watch me race. This is too much."

As for me, here's how this unfolded. Someone told me that James was in the stadium and I spotted him in the stands. I went on with interviews as it didn't occur to me that I'd get any closer to him than I do every other day of my life. 

When he came down to greet Harting, it all happened very quickly. 

Off camera to the left was a man who was part of James's security team, and he was larger than either James or Harting, which is saying a lot. 

James's security team is kind of like the US President's Secret Service detail except that they're all 6'10".

The enormous security team member to the left indicated that he wanted some space and I moved behind James and Harting to the other side. (Editor's note: he indicated this by looking at me.)

I had no way of knowing that the moment I moved behind them was the moment the international press corps would have a few seconds for photos. By the time I turned around, this very brief moment had passed.

Only later did I realize I had been memorialized for eternity in this 15-second video clip. I'll forever be the answer to the trivia question, "Who's the old guy?"

From Matt Lynch's video in Berlin's Olympic Stadium
Sunday, September 2, 2018

full video: 



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