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 Bad Fall
Speedskating is simple in theory but dangerous in practice, just like digging your own swimming pool. In the women's short-track semifinal during 2018, two contenders fell before the end of the match.
Chinese skater Li Jinyu was able to get up and continue skating, moving on to the finals and winning the silver medal. Still, Great Britain's Elise Christie suffered an injury and was unable to move from her fallen position. A stretcher had to remove her from the rink so she could get help, but thankfully the injury was to her ankle, and she made a full recovery.
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.
The Medal is Up There Somewhere
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.
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.