Columbia Athletics released its most recent version of its “All-31 Sport” photo earlier today in its monthly Lions Digest email newsletter. The photograph, depicting student-athletes from every Columbia varsity team, was taken off-campus for the first time since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park.
The photograph, the fifth in a series that began in 2015, was taken by Mike McLaughlin. He has worked with Columbia for over a decade and has taken each of the previous “All-31” photographs.
“I always have a great time working with our student-athletes and while I enjoy watching and documenting their competitive careers, photographing their portraits, both as a group and individually, is when I interact the most. with them and really get to know them. I’m truly honored by the trust they have in me to do this for them again and again,” McLaughlin said.
“This particular photograph, the ‘All-31 Sport’ portrait, is a project I’m passionate about because it’s taken very seriously by the athletes themselves as well as the teams and coaches, and it’s a huge undertaking every year”, adds the photographer. “From planning and choosing the location, to the logistics of its scheduling around classes, games and workouts, to the task of posing and lighting such a large group in a busy public space and in a convincing, it takes a lot of time, effort and collaboration from everyone involved to achieve this and hopefully end up with a fun and memorable experience for the athletes and a photograph that everyone can be very proud. I’m very proud of this Picture of the Year and grateful to everyone who helped make it happen, and to all of the student-athletes for their patience, cooperation and trust.”
“I enjoyed the experience of being part of the picture. It was great that we had the chance to connect with athletes from all other sports at Columbia since we are often only around our own teammates. remarks Cameron Shockley-Okeke ’23CC, the men’s basketball rep pictured. “It means a lot to be part of the picture.”
“Being a part of this shot was one of the coolest Columbia experiences I’ve had so far, and I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of such a special Columbia tradition,” adds Maya. Walker ’24CC, which appears in the field hockey photo. “One thing I loved about playing a sport at Columbia is how close the athletics community is, and this photo was a fun opportunity to bring people from each of the different teams together. .”
This year’s photograph shows the Columbia student-athletes standing in front of the Bethesda Terrace arcade, located on 72nd Street in the middle of Central Park. Designed by park co-architect Calvert Vaux, Bethesda Terrace was designed as one of the park’s few official venues to feature architectural structures. Behind the student-athletes is the arcade, which was built in the 1800s but completely renovated by the Central Park Conservancy from 2002 to 2007.
“It was so special to be in such a well-known landmark in Central Park, which definitely reflects the Columbia experience and the access we have to everything New York has to offer,” Walker said.
“Manhattan’s centerpiece, Central Park, is full of landmarks and iconic locations that are unique to New York City,” notes Alex Oberweger ’92CC ’01BUS, Associate Director of Sports for Strategic Communications. “This photograph is one that can only be taken here in the backyard of Columbia. We are grateful for the assistance of The Central Park Conservancy, in particular Lauren Ullrich and Stephen McConkey, for their help in rendering possible this photographic tribute to our hometown.”
Previous photographs in the series have featured the campus locations of Columbia Low Library (2015) and Revson Plaza (2021), across the river from the New York skyline in Hoboken, New Jersey (2016 ) and the crossroads of the world, Times Square (2018).
“I always remember getting into Dodge [Fitness Center] and see the huge picture on the wall as you enter through the front doors,” Shockley-Okeke added. “It’s truly amazing that I’m now part of that picture.”