Shapes and shadows capture Olympic swimmers’ tension

May 2, 2012 | By Adam Pretty | Olympics, Sport

This image is from Athens 2004. I like it for the shapes and shadows because it makes you look twice. I was really nervous trying to do a slow pan of the swimming start which is a pretty low percentage picture.

And then, the Ian Thorpe and Pieter van Den Hoogenband race came on. They were massive rivals, so there was an incredible tension which you could really feel in the atmosphere of the venue. I’m so happy I managed to capture it. I got a real sharpness in the frame, making it a nice graphic picture.


Ian Thorpe of Australia starts from lane 4 and Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands lane 5 during the heats of the mens 200m freestyle on August 15, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Main Pool of the Olympic Sports Complex Aquatic Centre in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Adam began his career at The Sydney Morning Herald in 1997 as a news photographer. His desire to specialise in sport saw him move to Getty Images in 1998. Adam has photographed the last five Olympic games, and covered assignments around the globe for magazines including Sports Illustrated, Life Magazine, Time Magazine and Harpers Bazaar.

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