Sport

24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games

It seems like only yesterday that the country was gearing up for start of the 2012 London Olympics, but four years on, it's the turn of Rio to put on a sporting show for the world.

As such, it's an opportune moment to reminisce about the many incredible moments caught on camera over the years by the many talented photographers who lie patiently in wait to capture and distill the emotion and spectacle that unfolds in front of their lens.

Adam Pretty, Sports Photographer at Getty Images, takes us through his selection of 24 incredible images from Olympics of yesteryear.

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games

    Olympic Day 3 – Diving

    “I love the drama of this shot. The photo captures the force at which these divers are hitting the water, distorting their bodies and faces. It’s amazing to think these divers take those hits time and time again. You could compare them to boxers. The synchronisation - which this shot captures - makes it all the more impressive.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 1

    Nikki Webster (opening of Sydney Games 2000)

    “This photo is special as it captures a very intimate moment, within a grand spectacle. It was a tricky shot to take and I was juggling lenses up in the roof of the stadium. I still feel lucky that I picked the right lens to get that shot!”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 2

    Olympics Day 15 – Diving

    “The team in the diving final in the 2012 Games was the most memorable set I’ve ever photographed. There was so much controversy – with Tom Daley being allowed to do a re-dive and taking a bronze medal position. This image of Daley captures his finish and celebration.”

    (Image: Al Bello/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 3

    Olympics Day 7 – Swimming

    “This is such an unusual photo, an angle the viewer probably would have never seen before. It’s clean, symmetrical and without a drop of water out of place. In the middle is Michael Phelps, who went on to take silver and gold to become the most decorated medallist in the history of the Games in 2012.”

    (Image: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 4

    Olympics Day 3 – Swimming

    “This photo from the Beijing Olympics in 2008 is spectacular. The architecture is incredible in the Beijing National Aquatics Center and I really wanted to get this in the shot. I feel all the elements in this picture come together; good subjects, good light and distinct layers.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty /Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 5

    Men’s Triathlon

    “I took this image at my first Olympics in 2000 in Sydney. It was a pretty special Games for me, being a local and then also having the chance to cover it as a professional photographer. It has the best background you can imagine for an Olympic event in the city. To get in position I had to wait in the water for 45 minutes. There was no special technology used here, just a manual camera.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 6

    Ronny Weller

    “I remember watching Ronny Weller on TV during the Atlanta Olympics where he won gold. He went crazy! When I went to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 I wanted to make sure I got to shoot the men’s weightlifting to capture this moment. I love this photo; it has great graphic composition and gets the Olympic logo in.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 7

    Beijing during the Olympic Games

    “This is one of those photos that I wish I had taken. It’s an iconic picture of the torch during the Beijing Olympics, with the moon in the background. It’s so simple, but has such a powerful effect.”

    (Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 8

    Men’s 200m Free Heats

    “I had always been interested in swimming. At the start of my career Ian Thorpe (our Australian superstar) was making a name for himself. This is one of the biggest races he took part in during the Athens Games in 2004. I took a risk by using a slow shutter speed, which captures a different perspective on the event.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty /Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 9

    Men’s Team Pursuit Qualifiers

    “This image, from Athens in 2004, is one of my favourite photographs I’ve taken during the Olympics. Here, Team New Zealand competes in the men’s track cycling team qualifying round.  It was a fleeting moment as the sunlight shone into the velodrome for a split moment. No other photographer managed to catch it.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 10

    Olympics Day 9 – Athletics

    “This picture is of Tamile Aldama of Great Britain reacting after her final jump in the Women’s Triple Jump final in London 2012. Her physique is incredible and the emotion caught here is all encompassing. I really wanted to get a “jubilation shot” and this really captures that feeling.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 11

    Men’s Greco-Roman 120Kg Bronze Contest

    “Here, Rulon Gardner from the USA sheds a tear at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It was the end of the Olympics and I was completely exhausted. The bus was late to the venue and I was panicking as the side of the platform was already closed off so I couldn’t get into my designated position. Despite this, I still managed to get the shot and it’s such a striking image. Gardner is such a huge man, but the emotion of what has just happened makes him look vulnerable, here he becomes childlike.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 12

    Olympics Day 9 – Athletics

    “This image captures Usain Bolt’s style at its best. I love the fact that with sports imagery, often the most unusual angles reveal the best images. This one offers a unique perspective. It’s almost a behind-the-scenes look.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 13

    Olympics Day 8 – Athletics

    “This is a shot of Usain Bolt during the Men’s 100m Final in 2008, before he went on to become one of greatest Olympians of all time. I just love his confident body language here; he owns it.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 14

    1984 Olympics Crash

    “In this famous moment, Katsuo Nakatake of Japan falls over during the 1000m cycling sprint. I remember seeing this as a kid when my dad bought me a sport imagery book. This is the perfect action picture and I doubt anyone will ever take one like it – a once in a lifetime shot.”

    (Image: David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 15

    Olympics – Opening Ceremony

    “This photo from the Beijing Olympics is an iconic view of the amazing structure of the stadium. It’s simple with bold colours and just demands attention.”

    (Image: Clive Rose/Getty)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 16

    Olympics Day 10 – Athletics

    “This picture of Elen Isinbaeva from Russia catches the moment perfectly. It’s got her emotion, the action and the Olympic logo. It suspends her in time.”

    (Image: Harry How/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 17

    Olympic Games 1988

    “This moment is nostalgic for me, as I remember it as a child. I love that Florence Griffith-Joyner stands apart from the other athletes. It’s her separation from the group that frames her so well in the picture.”

    (Image: Maya Moritz/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 18

    1988 Olympics Ben Johnson

    “This picture was taken during the peak of the performance-enhancing drugs scandal. Ben Johnson from Canada looks like a racehorse compared to everyone else. He went on to have his gold medal and world record stripped following the doping scandal. I used this photo as inspiration for the shot I took of Usain Bolt in 2008.”

    (Image: Steve Powell/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 19

    Igor Potapovich

    “I love the composition in this picture. It shows Igor Potapovich competing in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Every time I photograph track and field I always hope to get an image like this. It’s the gold standard in photography of pole vaulting.”

    (Image: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 20

    1984 Summer Olympics Lewis

    “I grew up watching Carl Lewis at the Olympics and I remember seeing this image in a book. My fellow Getty Images photographer David Cannon has caught the perfect Olympian pose here.”

    (Image: David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 21

    Cathy Freeman of Australia rises out of the blocks

    “As a fellow Australian, this was a very emotional moment for me. The angle in this picture is unique and the instant she bolted from the blocks is my favourite Olympic moment ever. Her body suit really makes her standout on the track.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 22

    Olympics Day 15 – Athletics

    “I remember being in the London stadium for this and it was the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced as a photographer. The anticipation was building with the long distance race and Mo Farah just exploded on the finish line, he had so much emotion.”

    (Image: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

  • 24 incredible photo moments from Olympic Games 23

    1908 Olympics

    “This picture shows marathon runner Dorando Pietri of Italy being helped across the finish line in 1908. He collapsed as he entered the stadium but still pushed himself to finish the race. As sport becomes more professional it risks losing humanity. I like this nice throwback to a time when that was still a very big part of the event.”

    (Image: Getty Images Archive/Getty Images)