National Portrait Gallery Unveils Olympics Photo Exhibition

NPG launch Road to 2012: Aiming High – a photography project documenting preparations for London 2012, which will culminate in a major exhibition from 19 July to 23 September 2012

New portraits of gymnast Beth Tweddle, talented young sprinter Jodie Williams and Jan Matthews, who is responsible for the world’s largest peacetime catering operation, were released today to launch Road to 2012: Aiming High – the final and biggest exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery’s Road to 2012 project of commissioned photographs documenting the preparations for London 2012.

As part of a Gallery commission of 100 works, over forty new portraits by the newly commissioned photographers, who were announced today as Anderson & Low, Nadav Kander and Jillian Edelstein, will go on show at the National Portrait Gallery on 19 July.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, says: ‘Road to 2012 … celebrates exceptional British sportspeople, and some of the crucial figures working behind the scenes – whether they be coaches and managers or soil engineers, architects or the producers of the key ceremonies. It features outstanding photographic portraits that convey the determination, skill and mental prowess of those working at the highest level of international sport.’

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project is a wonderful record of the range of people working to make London 2012 a huge success.’

Beth Tweddle (b.1985) is photographed by Anderson & Low with fellow gymnasts Hannah Whelan, Jenni Pinches and Rebecca Tunney at the City of Liverpool Gymnastics Club where they train. Tweddle, who became Britain’s first ever world champion in women’s gymnastics in 2006, began competing aged seven, and moved to Liverpool in 1997 to train with coach Amanda Reddin. Since 2002 she has won multiple medals at international level on the asymmetric bars, floor and team disciplines. She has competed at two Olympic Games and is now three-times world champion.

Tweddle, current British champion Whelan (b.1992) and Pinches (b.1994) are all members of the women’s team who qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games at the World Championships in 2011. Rebecca Tunney (b.1996) is British junior champion 2011. ‘Beth is a role model for pretty well all gymnasts in Britain,’ says Hannah Whelan. ‘She is so strong mentally and she knows how to compete. She is clearly more experienced than any of us. She has done it all.’

Photographed in London by Nadav Kander, rising track and field star Jodie Williams (b.1993) is recognised as ‘the sort of athlete every country is waiting for’ by UK athletics head coach Charles van Commenee. The 18-year-old joined her local athletics club aged thirteen, following in the footsteps of her parents, both county-level sprinters. She holds three world junior and youth titles in the 100 metres and 200 metres and is reigningworld junior champion at 100 metres. Williams’ debut at senior international level was in 2011 coming fourth in the 60 metres with a personal best. She is currently studying for A levels. ‘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.’

As Head of Catering, Cleaning and Waste for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Jan Matthews (b.1961) will serve 14 million meals over seventy-seven days. She is photographed at Smithfield Market by Jillian Edelstein. Matthews says: ‘We will deliver over 2.5 million workforce meals, on the busiest day in the village over 65,000 and over 14 million meals over the 77 days of games, its big but we are really looking forward to the challenge and what is going to be the highlight of certainly my career.’ Matthews, who works with third-party partners to deliver the London 2012 zero direct-to-landfill waste pledge, was previously responsible for supplying catering, retail and leisure facilities to the British armed forces.

Road to 2012: Aiming High will conclude the journey to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games that started with the exhibition Road to 2012: Setting Out in 2010 and continued with last summer’s Road to 2012: Changing Pace. The three-year project creates 100 newly commissioned photographic portraits celebrating the people who will collectively make the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games happen. Each annual exhibition has been displayed free to the public at the Gallery.

 Follow ArtLyst on Twitter for breaking art news and latest exhibition reviews

Related Posts

London Artfair 2023 - Enjoy a 50% discount on tickets with the code ARTLYST50
Jerry Kaye - Look good, feel good
Follow Artlyst on Instagram
Artlyst Benefit screen prints by Simon Patterson. Exclusive Editions
Open Source Salon with Hauser and Wirth - A new monthly discussion group
Advertise your next show on Artlyst from £200 per week