Sometimes, a perfectly timed photo can really help you understand the agility, speed, grace, and athleticism that sports events put on display. Other times, they just make for a good laugh. Check out these perfectly timed sports photos and decide which is which for yourself!
It’s Too Easy
Okay, so there’s “making it look easy,” and then there’s being so underwhelmed by pole vaulting 12 feet into the air that you literally yawn while you do it. They say that you yawn not necessarily when you’re tired, but more so when you’re feeling relaxed. In that case, this talented athlete feels completely at ease as she uses a flexible pole to launch herself a dozen feet into the air in front of spectators, teammates, and coaches! Wow.
Playing the position of catcher can be very dangerous, especially in the World Series. In order to tag home plate, players on third base can run into and try to knock the ball out of the catcher’s hand. This photo was snapped during the first game of the World Series in 1991. Despite being tossed upside down, the catcher, Dan Gladden, was able to hang onto the ball.
It may take you a moment to realize what you are looking at, but this is a photo of Pittsburgh Steeler Antwaan Randle El, in 2003. His head is being turned almost all the way around as a player from the other team grips onto his facemask. The player was called for the penalty. Luckily, Antwaan was not seriously injured.
Bobby Martin was born without legs and is unable to wear prosthetics. Despite his disability, Martin was still determined to play high school football. This picture was taken during on of his high school games, where he was the backup varsity noseguard. This picture is a perfect example that anyone can overcome any obstacle, with some hard work and determination.
This perfectly timed sports photo has it all. It not only gives you an idea of the speed, timing, and agility required to be an elite hurdler, but it also shows you the sheer concentration needed to succeed in the event. Not only that, but this photo makes you really, really wonder which of these two fast women ended up actually winning the race!
Balling With Flair
Basketball is a sport that requires a lot of grace and athleticism, but also has a macho attitude to it that allows players to strut around the court like they’re hot stuff. It’s great when a photo like this comes out, showing that even supposedly tough basketball players can look rather gentle and graceful at times. What was the New York Knicks player doing here? Your guess is as good as ours.
Getting Her Fish Face Ready
Most fish don’t do a lot of diving, but this diver looks like she is getting into character before she hits the water by putting on her best fish face, nonetheless. What’s funny is that divers are subjected to unbelievable scrutiny about everything they do with their bodies. Move a leg too far one way or arch your back too much and there goes your gold medal. However, your facial expressions aren’t judged; which is great for this enthusiastic diver.
Did You Lose Something?
Like all performers, athletes have that little part of their brains that obsesses over everything that could go wrong during a big competition. When you’re preparing for the hurdles in the Olympics, “losing your shoe” has to be pretty high on that list. But from the way this Ethiopian Olympian is skying over this hurdle, losing a shoe doesn’t seem to have held her back much. She actually went on to qualify for the Olympic final in this race despite her shoe falling off!
This photo makes it look like the gymnast pictured has decided that a midair transformation into the Hulk himself is the best way to win the competition. Hey, we’re not judging – who knows what kind of concentration is required to flip in the air several times while twirling for good measure. Still, you can’t deny that this isn’t the most flattering photo he’s probably had taken.
The Horror! The Horror!
If you didn’t see the facial expressions on these two professional soccer players, you would think that this was a pretty standard photo. However, the photographer captured a split second where each man has a look of absolute horror on his face, which calls to question what exactly could happen on a soccer field to prompt this sort of reaction? Shouldn’t one player at least be happy about whatever’s happening, since they’re on opposite teams?
Wear Your Water Helmet
Apparently head injuries have become such a concern that even swimming has mandated that their athletes wear helmets. What other reason could exist for what appears to be a clear helmet on top of this swimmer’s head as he emerges from the water? And as for his face, let’s not even get into the strange shape that the water has made there. The swimmer certainly isn’t distracted by any of this, though – look at the concentration!
Here I Am, Upside Down
Considering how nasty this bull toss and resulting crash landing must have been, this photo captures what appears to be a very serene moment. It’s definitely the calm before the storm, however. In a split second, the rider will land and immediately have to worry about the very angry bull as (hopefully) rodeo clowns arrive to distract the bull and redirect his anger elsewhere as he escapes.
I’ll Just Relax Here
Hey, coach! That’s not a seat you’re resting on, that’s an actual person! I mean, I get that gymnasts are rather small and what not, but you can’t just be planting your tush wherever you want. In all likelihood, this Brazilian coach is applying a little pressure on the gymnast’s back to help her get a deeper stretch. If you get so flexible that you need a full-grown man sitting on you to get a good stretch, good for you!
The King Has Arrived
In an otherwise dreary one-sided matchup between two NBA teams, the ref on the left here made the game worth watching by briefly aligning his head with the advertisement behind him in a pretty humorous way. See, the other two are just regular referees, but our guy on the left, he’s the king! He’s wearing a crown and everything to prove it!
Think Of The Children!
Why, I never! Who would allow such language to be displayed not only on a basketball court, but also on television in front of who knows how many viewers are watching? Why doesn’t somebody think of the poor children? They are impressionable and may read something like this and repeat it! I mean, they might even – what’s that? Oh, it’s her name? Um, okay. Carry on then, never mind all of that.
That’s One Tough Ref
Okay, there are referees that are tough because they call games strictly by the rules, and then there’s this guy. Not only is this referee dragging one player behind him like it’s no big deal, but he’s got a second one snatched up by the shirt and appears to be giving him a strongly worded lecture, as well. And they’re rugby players, not exactly wimps! I want to know what these guys did to get on this ref’s bad side.
While diving catches are generally no big deal to top-notch baseball players, they sometimes look a little funny when preserved by a photographer’s lens. In this photo, the Venezuelan player appears to be balancing his entire body weight on just his right hand. That’s an impressive feat; I don’t care who you are! Maybe his second sport is gymnastics?
Oh, Hi There!
Let’s consider the awkwardness of this moment for a second. First of all, you have the wrestler in red tights, who is pointing his butt right at the camera. Then there’s the wrestler in blue tights, who appears to be in the worst possible position right now. If the other wrestler passes gas, he may need an ambulance. And to top it all off, the blue wrestler just happened to meet the camera’s lens with his gaze at just the right moment. Awkward.
From A Different Perspective
Talk about getting a different view of the world! This motocross rider is just hanging out upside down as if he’s not engaged in a supremely dangerous activity that would make most of us freeze up in absolute fear. There’s nothing quite like extreme athletes who take things that the rest of us wouldn’t dare trying even once and do them so many times that they somehow become routine.
The Amazing Spider Goalie
As a goaltender, you have to do whatever you can to block the other team’s shots. It doesn’t have to look pretty and it doesn’t matter what you block shots with: arms, hands, head, legs, whatever! This goalie has completely embraced this concept and is taking no chances, not only extending her arms, but also her legs in an effort to block as much of the goal as possible. And look at her facial expression! That’s concentration, folks.
No Helmet, No Problem
The look of serenity on this Notre Dame running back’s face is pretty inexplicable. Not only is he literally in the process of being tackled by another player, but he’s surrounded by huge, hulking behemoths who want to smash him if their teammate’s tackle attempt fails. Not only that, but he’s lost his helmet, too, so his head and face are unprotected! No big deal for this guy, though…apparently.
Better Luck Next Time
When you’re as good at something as Usain Bolt is at the 100-meter dash, you don’t look at your competitors as actual competition. You look at their efforts as just a slightly amusing development on the way to your inevitable victory. Look at this photo, for example. The Canadian sprinter is thinking, “I almost had you!” Bolt, meanwhile, is laughing and saying, “Uh, no you didn’t. Not even close!”
Don’t Lose Your Head Over It
There are perfectly timed sports photos that look amazing or amusing, and then there are…well, photos like this one. In this case, we’re treated to what is actually a pretty horrifying photo as the gymnast bends her back and neck at such an extreme angle that for a moment, she appears to be headless. Kudos to the photographer for this well-timed, if slightly unsettling, photo.
Who knew soccer could be such a wet sport? This perfectly timed sports photo features the moment of impact between this wet soccer ball and a player’s noggin. How wet is the field that they’re playing on, exactly? Could it be that the player is actually so sweaty that he’s the cause of some of that spray in the photo? If so, that’s kind of gross. Other people are going to head that ball too, you know.
It’s not clear when this game was played, but it’s fun to imagine that it was a Halloween contest and that the Milwaukee Bucks player is just getting into the spirit of things. How else can you explain how genuinely scared he looks at where the ball is headed? Are they playing “out of bounds is lava” and he’s concerned for the ball’s safety, or what? Either way, that’s a real look of sheer terror on #0’s face there.
Synchronized swimming is probably hard enough, but to synchronize your diving is probably a whole other world completely. You’re falling through the air at high speeds and doing difficult, intricate dives and you have to be in sync with another person doing the same? These two take it seriously, though. Look, they even have the same facial expression here!
Who Wants It?
It’s rare that you see a basketball photo where there are several people in the frame and none of them seems to actually want the ball. Yet here we are, looking at this perfectly timed sports photo that shows exactly that. In all actuality, things happen very quickly in an international basketball game and it takes a well-timed photo to make athletes like these ladies look awkward.
A Thousand Words
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s certainly true of this perfectly timed photo. Nearly every person in this photo has an amusing reaction for one reason or another. The guy on the right in blue is in sheer amazement at the ball and somehow thinks he has a chance of catching it, despite being seven feet away. Another guy on the left is completely stone-faced as he reaches out toward the ball, and then there’s the lady in the middle in blue. That face! Amazing.
Does This Count As Cheating?
Hmmm…normally, it would seem that having an extra pair of arms is cheating, but if you’re playing soccer, is it really a big deal? After all, you’re not allowed to use your hands, anyway. You have to give kudos to the photographer here in any case, as the snapping of a simple photo has changed the player in front to some sort of spider-ish monster straight out of your nightmares. Well done!
Two Different Approaches
One beautiful thing about international competitions is how they bring together people of vastly different backgrounds. That difference is rarely illustrated more starkly than in this photo, where an Egyptian sand volleyball player competes in a special hijab, long sleeves and tights against a pair of women wearing the more, uh, traditional attire consisting of skin tight bikinis.
Everyone in a team sport knows what it’s like to hug a teammate in a moment of triumph or console a teammate after a disappointing failure. What about the goalie, though? Who can the goalie turn to after coming up short in a big moment? In at least one case, a goalie has been forced to find solace in the goalpost during an emotional moment. At least he’s not completely alone, I guess.
Knock His Head Off!
Hockey is a tough sport, and it’s only natural that tempers sometimes flare over what happens on the ice. However, it’s a little extreme to knock your opponent’s head completely off during a tussle, which is what appears to have happened here. This photo is so brilliantly timed that the Canadian player’s helmet is even facing in the proper direction and at the right height! This may be the “Mona Lisa” of perfectly timed sports photos.
I Don’t Need This Anymore
Alexander Rodriguez, better known as A-Rod, retired from the MLB in 2016. This photo was snapped not too long before his retirement. The photo helps shed some light on emotions that Alex may have been feeling, when he decided to retire. It definitely looks like he no longer cares and is ready to give up on the sport and throw in the towel (or should we say bat?).
When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go
Despite what many people think, professional cycling is a very team-oriented sport. Strategy about where and how people ride, amongst a team, is thoroughly thought out before every race. The leaders of the sport, depend on their teammates in order to win gold. Speed and coordination are necessary to win. Therefore, there is no time to stop, for anything.
Synchronized Swimming…And Spitting
Synchronized swimming is an art form. From the make-up, to the outfits, to the moves, everything is completely pre-planned to create an overall masterpiece. Although this may look strange, the swimmers spitting the water was actually part of their routine. However, when it is taken out of context, the move looks rather silly.
All pitchers in the MLB have a different way of throwing the ball. However, the basic motion is the same across the board. One moves his arm in a forward motion to launch the ball towards the plate. However, to improve one’s fast ball, one must improve his external rotation. This pitcher has clearly worked on that as his arm is super flexible and almost looks like rubber.
A Flip Throw
Although, not normally seen in games, a flip throw is a way for a soccer player to throw the ball back into play. It takes extreme strength and agility. However, if done correctly, it allows a player to launch the ball much further than a normal throw in. This woman was snapped doing her flip throw mid-way, making for a very cool picture.
Now That’s Flexible
There are some photos that not only impress the viewer, but also can almost be painful to look at. That’s the case with this one. This figure skater is not concerned whatsoever with the extreme angle of her standing split, but most average people would find it painful to even think about trying this. Still, there’s something satisfying about how her legs are joining to form a perfectly straight vertical line.