Fri Jun 17 11:30am EDT
In the age of Facebook and Twitter, it was only a matter of time before the world learned the identities of the kissing couple from that now-iconic photo of the Vancouver riots.
About 24 hours after photos of the smooch was passed on through emails, IMs and blog posts, the Toronto Star and the CBC are reporting that the boyfriend and girlfriend in the photograph are Aussie bartender Scott Jones and Canadian college student Alex Thomas, who was injured just before the picture was taken.
The papers report that Jones and Thomas have been dating since Jones arrived in Vancouver on a "working holiday." They attended Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, which the hometown Canucks lost 4-0 to the Boston Bruins, and then somehow found themselves between the angry rioters and charging riot police later that night in downtown Vancouver.
The famous aftermath, as captured by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam:
So how were Jones and Thomas ultimately identified as the unlikely "make love, not war" couple of Vancouver's embarrassing night of injury and destruction?
Though Scott's sister Hannah first identified her brother to an Australian news network, things really started taking off when Brett Jones, Scott's father, posted the following update on his Facebook profile on Friday morning from the family's home in Perth, Australia.
(Note the funny response from Scott's brother, Ryan.)
Brett Jones now says the couple is being besieged by media requests from outlets around the world. All, of course, are interested in knowing the circumstances that found the couple smooching as cars were burned and windows were smashed around them.
But despite some of our initial assumptions, the kiss seen 'round the world wasn't the product of a riot-fueled, uncontrollable passion. Brett Jones instead notes that Thomas was injured and his son was coming to her aid. An alternate angle taken from above shows other bystanders later attempting to help Thomas and Jones.
Combine that different angle with Brett Jones' story and it certainly dispels the rumors that the couple had intentionally staged the photo.
"They were between the riot police and the rioters, and the riot police were actually charging forward, and Alex got knocked by a [police] shield and fell to the ground," Brett Jones told CBC News. "[Scott] was comforting her and gave her a kiss to say, 'It's going to be OK,' and the photographer just took the shot at that moment."
Jones' mother Marie said she immediately knew it was her son in the picture because "he doesn't have a lot of clothes with him and he always puts on the same thing."
So where do they go from here? The good news is that Jones escaped the incident unhurt and Thomas only suffered a bruised leg. The bad news is that Jones is scheduled to leave Canada soon and head home for Australia after a trip to California. The Jones family says that Thomas plans to visit California with their son but that the couple's future after that is uncertain.
UPDATE: Jones and Thomas spoke with the Toronto Star:
Thomas said this morning that everything happened so fast that there was just massive confusion all around. "I was trying to understand what was going on. The photo was definitely not something we expected to happen," said Thomas.
The couple is leaving in three days on a trip to California, before Scott heads back to Australia. Thomas said the response from her friends and family has been overwhelming.
"When I saw that picture I couldn't believe it and then I looked at it more and realize it's quite artistic and really something beautiful."
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