True Winners: Iconic Sporting Moments Immortalized in Photos
Sports are a testament to the strength of human will and physique. It also brings out the best and worst in athletes and spectators. Through the years, sports photographers have faithfully documented various events and have become significant contributors to the field. Photography student and sports fan Fred Brisker shares that the works of famous sports photographers serve as his inspiration. Here’s a list of some of the most iconic moments in sports.
Kerri Strug and Coach Bela Karolyi (1996)
This photo by John Gaps taken during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics shows the willingness of gymnast Kerri Strug, who was suffering from two torn ligaments and a sprained ankle. Despite what she was experiencing, she managed to get a gold medal for the US team. The iconic photo, which was captured during the awarding ceremony, shows Strug carried by her coach Bela Karolyi. For photographer Fred Brisker, this photograph shows the gymnast’s determination to win despite her condition and her coach’s support.
Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston (1965)
This photo by Neil Leifer perfectly captures the powerful stance of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Even after more than five decades, people still have this image of the great boxer on their minds. But what young boxing fans don’t know is that Sonny Liston was also a heavyweight champion with a strength that made him a worthy opponent for the then twentysomething Ali. With luck and timing, Leifer took a photo that will be remembered for a long time. Fred Brisker says that photographers must have the eye and speed to capture a once in a lifetime shot like this.
Roger Bannister (1954)
The iconic photo features the young Sir Roger Bannister breaking the barrier and having a record time of 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. Aside from the astonishing speed, people were also surprised at the performance of the sportsman who only considered his sport as secondary to his medical training. The man behind this photo, Norman Potter, was also an apprentice photographer in his twenties who lost a finger during his assignment in the navy. As a sports fan, Fred Brisker considers this moment in sports history as a reminder for photographers to keep their eyes open for surprises.
Jesse Owens (1936)
In this 1936 photo by Heinrich Hoffman, African American track and field star Jesse Owens was photographed giving a military-style salute while his German counterparts were giving the Nazi salute. Despite the political tension during that time, Luz Long, the silver medalist from Germany, congratulated Owens in front of Hitler. Fred Brisker comments that this moment is proof that true athletes respect the skill and humanity of their opponents.