The Olympics, ‘the greatest show on earth’, will see the world’s top athletes converge in the capital with one thing on their minds – that glistening disk of gold.
But away from the cameras, in the boxing clubs, badminton courts and football fields dotted around the borough, participants train tirelessly, week in, week out with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) founder Pierre de Coubertin’s message in mind: The most important thing “is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle”.
A collective of 13 Waltham Forest photographers, Image 17, have spent the last year with 48 grassroots sporting groups in the borough, capturing the passion and dedication of the volunteers, trainers and coaches that keep them going.
More than 140 images go on show in a touring exhibition, which stops at various venues.
“Waltham Forest is a vibrant and diverse place to live and visit,“ says photographer Nicola Tree. “There’s an enormous variety of sports played by all ages – we wanted to highlight this and bring the Olympic Games to a relevant local level.“
“The photographs are absolutely stunning,“ says Cllr Chris Robbins, leader of Waltham Forest Council, who commissioned the works, “and a fitting testament to what will be a landmark year for Waltham Forest. It’s also a timely reminder of the dedication of local sports clubs, coaches and competitors and all the work they do to make the borough a better place.“
Different images will be on show in a series of five exhibitions across the borough: Leyton Library, High Road, Leyton: March 24 - April 22; North Chingford Library, The Green, Chingford: May 5 - 27; Leytonstone Library, Chuch Lane, Leytonstone: June 9 - July 1; Walthamstow Library, High Street, Walthamstow: July 21 - August 19; Walthamstow Library: August 21 - September 16.