Purpose: through words and likeness illustrate the Olympians who received little fanfare and attention.
Illustrator: Alex Savakis. Created on an iPad Pro with the ProCreate app and Apple Pencil.
Behind the scenes: while I was drawing on my iPad my TV was tuned to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. I heard the TV announcer say, “What gravity?”, in reference to a comment by Mutaz Essa Barshin. Mr. Barshim participated in the high jump. He was the first person to bring home a silver medal for his country, Qatar.
I imagined the elation Mr. Barshim felt as he cleared the high jump bar. I posted the piece to Instagram and Twitter. Two days later it was picked up by an online magazine from Doha, Qatar, who retweeted it.
— Alex Savakis (@LetteringGuy) August 17, 2016
Hidilyn Diaz was the first female to win a medal for her country, the Philippines. She took home the bronze medal for her weightlifting class. Two weeks after I posted my illustration she was tagged by a friend in the comments section of my Instagram post. The athlete responded. I was thrilled by her comment.