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Photo: Wim Noorman
Großgmain bei Salzburg (RWH): The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) is mourning the loss of Charlie Booker. After a long battle with cancer, the IBSF’s long-serving photographer passed away at his home in Niederrhein on 3 April at the age of 61, surrounded by his family and friends.

Charlie Booker was born in Guyana but moved to the UK with his mother at an early age. He later went on to work for the Royal Air Force. In his work as a photographer, Charlie Booker covered the IBSF’s bobsleigh and skeleton races for almost 25 years. His open, funny and generous nature made him a respected and popular figure among the athletes, teams and officials alike. He accompanied many of the athletes from their début on the ice track to the end of their careers, sharing their highs and lows. He was also a close friend to many, both in the world of sliding sports and beyond.

Whether at the World Cup, World Championships or Olympic Games, Charlie Booker was often spotted during training and would take photographs at the track regardless of the weather and always with a kind word to say and a smile to everyone. He captured images of Olympic and World Champions as well as athletes from smaller countries, always treating everyone equally. His outstanding photographs captured victories and defeats, big occasions and quiet moments, both behind the scenes and in front of them. 

Charlie Booker took his last photos for the IBSF at the 2016 BMW IBSF Bobsleigh + Skeleton World Championships in Innsbruck. Last winter, his health unfortunately left him unable to travel and undertake the demanding work on the track. However, he continued to follow every last race in his sport, the sport he loved so dearly, from a live stream in bed.

His love of the sport was very much reciprocated, as demonstrated at the World Cup race in Königssee in January 2017: Athletes showed their solidarity with him with posters and stickers showing his picture and the quote “We are thinking of you, Charlie Booker” adorning their helmets and sleds. These images were shared in photos and TV footage throughout the entire world of sliding sport.

“Charlie Booker’s presence was very much missed this winter – as a photographer but above all as a person and friend,” said IBSF President Ivo Ferriani.  “We send our deep condolences to his family, particularly to his daughter Mikaela. Charlie will live on in the thousands of photographs from a quarter of a century of bobsleigh and skeleton history, as well as in the wonderful memories among his sporting family.”