Reportage

Selfie Olympics: How Celebrity Autographs Are a Thing of the Past

Photographer Maria Plotnikova told Bird In Flight about the phenomenon she observed during the Rio Olympics — a selfie epidemic among athletes and their fans.

Maria Plotnikova 32 года

Born and raised in Moscow, spent the past five years in South America. Worked as a sports photographer and photojournalist in the Russian media, currently freelances, works with Bigpicture.ru.

— The journalists of the Brazilian newspaper O Globo have recently studied the statistics and concluded that the Rio Olympics became the most Instagrammed event in the history of humanity. 916 million pictures with Olympic hashtags is no bullshit.

What is more interesting, during these Olympics we observed the end of an era of classic autographs, old school ballpen signatures — on a ticket, on a T-shirt, or on a flag. The desired hook was replaced by ‘selfigraphs’: after the competition, athletes enjoy approaching the fans to take pictures with the front-facing cameras on their smartphones. The selfie-ization of space has reached a new level — it is highly likely that in the nearest future stadium stands will be rebuilt, so that the audience could easily reach their idols. In Rio, this was easy to do only in some arenas — it was easy to take a selfie with athletes competing in volleyball, handball, football, fencing, or wrestling, and the audience who watched water sports, gymnastics, cycling races had to put up with the limitations.

1_rio2016_selfie
Serginho from the Brazil men’s national volleyball team takes a selfie with fans after the group match.
2_rio2016_selfie
Usain Bolt takes a selfie with a fan after winning the 100m race.
3_rio2016_selfie
Evgeny Trefilov, coach of the Russia women’s handball team, takes a selfie with fans after winning in the finals.
4_rio2016_selfie
Russian sabre fencer Sofya Velikaya takes selfies with the audience after winning the team competition in saber fencing.
5_rio2016_selfie
A fan takes a selfie with the athletes who participate in the women’s marathon run in the background.
6_rio2016_selfie
Mauricio Silva, a member of the Brazil men’s volleyball team, takes selfies with the fans after a group competition match.
7_rio2016_selfie
Russian female fencers take selfies with the audience after winning the team competition in saber fencing.
9_rio2016_selfie
Fans who were lucky to be able buy tickets in the first rows are not going to leave without a selfigraph. They break their voices asking athletes to come near, and then take selfies with them to exhaustion.
10_rio2016_selfie
Fans who were lucky to be able buy tickets in the first rows are not going to leave without a selfigraph. They break their voices asking athletes to come near, and then take selfies with them to exhaustion.
14_rio2016_selfie
Fans are taking selfies with Usain Bolt in the background while he is giving an interview.
15_rio2016_selfie
Gonzalo Ruiz de la Cruz from Mexico men’s volleyball team is taking selfies with the fans after the match.
16_rio2016_selfie
Handball Olympic champion Ekaterina Ilina is taking selfies with the fans after winning in the finals.
17_rio2016_selfie
People from the audience are taking selfies with Usain Bolt after the 100m qualification race.
18_rio2016_selfie
Bruno Mossa, a member of the Brazil men’s volleyball team, is taking selfies with the audience after the match.
19_rio2016_selfie
Ibtihaj Muhammad, a US national team saber fencer, is taking selfies with the fans after winning a fight for bronze in the team competition of saber fencers.
20_rio2016_selfie
Fans take selfies with a Brazil football team player after the win in the finals.
21_rio2016_selfie
Eder, a member of the Brazil men’s volleyball team, is taking selfies with the fans after a group match.
22_rio2016_selfie
Alexandra Lacrabere, a member of France women’s handball team, is taking selfies with the audience after the match.
23_rio2016_selfie
Mauricio Luiz, a member of Brazil men’s volleyball team, is taking selfies with the fans after a group match.
24_rio2016_selfie
Some fans are conservative though, and for them a signature of an athlete on a flag still means something. Handball Olympic champion Anna Vyakhireva signs a Russian flag.
25_rio2016_selfie
Volleyball Olympic champion Ricardo Lucarelli signs a Brazilian flag.
11_rio2016_selfie
Selfies with Brazil men’s volleyball team players.
12_rio2016_selfie
Selfies with Brazil men’s volleyball team players.
13_rio2016_selfie
Selfies with Brazil men’s volleyball team players.
26_rio2016_selfie
Russian synchronized swimming team is taking selfies at the award ceremony.
28_rio2016_selfie
Boxers Bektemir Melikuziev, Evgeny Tishchenko and Vasily Levit are taking a selfie together after the award ceremony for winners in the heavyweight category.
29_rio2016_selfie
Synchronized swimmers from the UK team are taking selfies after the competition.
30_rio2016_selfie
Viva la selfie!

New and best

464

21
49

Read more