Posts tagged "Bobby Ellis"

Photo of the day: Sunset over the London Eye

The sun sets over the London Eye. Look for our London Eye video coming soon.

Photo by Bobby Ellis.

Photo of the day: Private in the Royal Guard

A Private in the Royal Guard, who could not reveal his name, wears a London 2012 patch while on traffic and security duty. We’ll have a gallery of photos of the London 2012 logo in various places posted tomorrow night.

Photo by Bobby Ellis.


Australian equestrian brings injured ankle—and Olympic dream—to Bloomington

By Bobby Ellis  |  BSU at the Games

Australian-born Peter Atkins has a big dream—to compete on the Australian Equestrian team during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Atkins in surgery.

Peter Atkins gives a picture of himself and his horse Henry—whom he hopes to ride in the Olympic Games—to doctor Matt Parmenter as appreciation for his work on his ankle. Photo by Bobby Ellis.

But as Atkins hobbled into the Southern Indiana Surgery Center in Bloomington on May 21, crutches under each arm, his right leg wrapped, he looked anything but an Olympic hopeful.

Atkins, 46, has been trying out for the Olympic Games since 1986 and this year qualified to compete in Three Day Eventing, a mix of dressage, cross-country and show jumping. His last obstacle was to qualify for the team, but tragedy struck on April 16. While working with his horse, Henry Jota Hampton, Atkins was injured in an accident, breaking his fibula and tibia in his right leg and damaging his right ankle after his horse spooked and fell on top of him.

Despite the severity of the injury, Atkins did not realize he was hurt until he saw his ankle flop to the side when he attempted to stand up.

“I just kept thinking one really bad word over and over and over,” Atkins said. “It was one of those quick-falling-backward falls where you couldn’t get off. I thought, ‘This is a stupid way to get hurt.’”

Atkins’ horse was unhurt in the fall but with Atkins injured, the pair was forced to scratch their team-qualifying event in England where they were set to fly to the next day. Atkins underwent surgery the same day as the accident but felt that his ankle wasn’t healing the way he wanted it to. That’s when his friend, anesthesiologist Beatrice Travis, recommended he talk to Dr. Matt Parmenter of the Southern Indiana Surgery Center in Bloomington.

“He was the first surgeon who believed me when I said I was going to ride in two weeks no matter what,” Atkins said of Parmenter.

Parmenter agreed to work on Atkins’ ankle pro bono since Atkins is not covered by American insurance and would not be able to afford the procedure on his own.

“He’s up against a wall,” Parmenter said when asked about the pro bono job. “I’m just hoping for a thank-you.”

The procedure Parmenter performed on Atkins was not a difficult one. Atkins was put under anesthesia and had bone marrow removed from his ankle with the help of a special needle. That bone marrow was then put into a center fuse and mixed with chemicals to draw out special stem cells from the marrow. Those stem cells were then injected back into Atkins’ ankle in an attempt to speed up the healing process.

“He’s our fourth case,” Parmenter said. “I think I can have him riding in three weeks.”

The surgery lasted about 40 minutes and went smoothly, with Atkins fast asleep and snoring

An X-ray shows Atkin's ankle after surgery.

under the anesthesia. Before going into surgery he gave his credit card to a nurse in the center and had her order lunch for the staff. Along with that, Dr. Parmenter received the thank-you he was looking for. After awakening from the procedure, Atkins gave the doctor a gift: a signed photograph of himself and Henry during a competition.

Atkins and Henry will be competing in the final qualifying event in Germany this month to attempt to make it onto the five-man Olympic squad. Despite the challenges, Atkins is optimistic about his recovery.

“I’ll enter that (the event) no matter what,” said Atkins. “Besides, the horse does all the work. All I have to do is stay on top and support what the horse is doing.”

As Atkins recovers from surgery, his horse Henry is currently overseas training for the event in Germany.

Dann Denny of The Bloomington Herald-Times contributed to this story

Bobby Ellis is a junior photojournalism major at Ball State University. Follow Bobby and the BSU team at @BobbyDEllis@bsuatthegames and


Olympic Games, cool—but I want to see some cricket

London! It’s not exactly the city that never sleeps, but with the 2012 Olympic Games coming to town, there probably won’t be much sleeping going on.

I know a lot of people are excited to see the Olympic Games and to experience them for themselves, but for me the Games are going to be my job while I’m there. As a photographer I find it difficult to really enjoy an event that I am covering since I’m so focused on what’s going on. Where do I need to be for this shot? Where do I think the action is going to happen? What do I need to do to get the effect that I want? And even though I may not cover any actual sporting event, covering the action surrounding the Olympic Games will make them part of my job.

This isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean that I am tending to look outside the main events for the pleasure-seeking part of my trip. For me, one of the more exciting parts of going to the U.K. will be the possibility of going to explore the land of my ancestors: Wales. My family on my father’s side is Welsh and German. I traveled to Germany my junior year of high school, and ever since then I’ve wanted to go to Wales to be able to say that I’ve visited the country where my family name comes from.

Being able to make this connection with my ancestral culture and heritage is one of the things I’m looking forward to this summer. Of course, I’m excited to be covering the Olympic Games and getting to see the best that London has to offer, but I’m a person of simple taste, making it the awesome cherry on top of my cultural sundae.

I’m also a fan of cricket. Yes, that’s the weird British sport with the big paddles for bats and the sticks with the funny name. However, being an American makes for a dull life as a cricket fan. For the past couple of years I have been forced to enjoy my cricket matches at 3 in the morning while yelling at my Internet for freezing on a key play of the match. So another exciting thing for me is that I might be able to see a real professional cricket match in person, something that I am saving my money for already.

There are so many things to look forward to, and I can’t really list all of them, but these are the two things that I think will make me the happiest. Of course I could always be surprised, which is something that I wouldn’t mind.

Bobby Ellis  |  Photographer