Before his routine was even over, Japanese free skate performer Yuzuru Hanyu knew that he was doing well. He’d go on to take home the gold, and one of the reasons was the moment when he thrust a hand toward the sky to pull the stars down to him.
The image captures the athlete’s determination, the grace he has trained for, and the success he has already achieved. Every time he slides out onto the ice, he climbs a little higher, which might be why he has his hand outstretched in such a way…he’s got a rope that is pulling him up.
Jumping for Joy
Finish skier Iivo Niskanen wanted to win, of course, but the fifty-kilometer mass start event is a grueling race that will tire even the hardiest athletes. Thus, when he found out that he was the first to cross the finish line, there was nothing else for him to do but kick up his heels and cheer.
Nine other competitors had to hang their heads in failure, but Niskanen had enough good cheer for all of them. With Finland's flag around his shoulders, it looks like he's about ready to make a gold-medal snow angel, skis in hand.
They Call Him the Blur
While most of the photos on this list are from competitions, this one of Team US's John Daly is only during practice. Skeleton is one of the most dangerous Olympic sports to perform in – competitors fly headlong down a twisting, winding track at high speeds, risking life and limb for the glory.
Daly is moving so fast that the camera tracking him has turned everything, else, even the icy track, into an unintelligible blur. It's a great picture, but Daly didn't wow during the actual competition, finishing a miserable eighteenth place. If this picture shows us Daly's speed, how fast did the other competitors go?
A Moment of Passion
This article has plenty of images of people pulling a face or making a move that would eventually get the gold, but not all of them. Some are big, stinking failures, but this picture shows us something in between. Slovenia's Zan Kosir won the bronze in the parallel giant slalom.
While most of us would be plenty happy with a bronze medal, Kosir wasn't, and when he found out the results, he threw his helmet to the ground. We got this great picture in the split-second the helmet is in the air, and Kosir certainly doesn't look happy. Hopefully, he's come to appreciate his bronze.
An Airborne Trio
Any race, especially during the Olympics, is going to have an undeniable competitive nature. Thanks to this picture, we can see that none of the competitors in the ski cross event are willing to let their fellow athletes get too far ahead, even if it means taking the exact same flight path.
However, these individuals are just practicing. It looks like the one in the yellow ski suit is moments away from getting his teeth knocked out. Still, in all likelihood, this is camera trickery, and the skiers are distant enough to maintain safety—no sense in getting hurt before you're even going for the gold.