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Winter Sports 2018 Blog

Behind the Camera: “Best of PyeongChang” by Matthias Hangst

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games closed leaving each of us with our favorite memories of sporting moments. Matthias Hangst, Getty Images Chief Photographer, talked to us about his “Best of PyeongChang.”

Vladyslav Heraskevych of Ukraine slides into the finish area during the Men's Skeleton heats at Olympic Sliding Centre on February 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR | ISO 2000 | 1/2000s | f/4 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“There are many different photo position options to cover a Skeleton race - personally I like the finish area. Skeleton racers have to break with their arms and legs after crossing the finish line. This special technique gives them an interesting and unique body-shape. A combination of a colorful dress, speed and energy makes the picture.”

Xindi Wang of China competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Aerials Qualification on day eight of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 17, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR @70mm | ISO 100 | 1/8s | f/11 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“The Aerial competitions are one of the most spectacular events at the Olympics. It's ‘unreal’ what these athletes perform whilst flying through the air. We had a designated team of photographers to cover all the Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard events in Phoenix Park. I was scheduled to support and help them for a few events, just because we needed more photographers to cover different perspectives.
I got the chance to be really close to the kicker and work with a really slow shutter speed. There are not many moments when you get the athlete's head in focus and without too much movement. The rest of the body looks like an angel in the air.”

A forerunner crashes prior to the Alpine Skiing Men's Giant Slalom on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Yongpyong Alpine Centre on February 18, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR @550mm | ISO 160 | 1/5000s | f/7.1 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“This picture doesn't show an Olympic athlete, however, it is an ‘Olympic Moment’ for me. I was supposed to cover the Men's Giant Slalom race from a position in the Finish area. This meant I was responsible for the reactions after the athletes crossed the finish line. I realized really quickly that one of the last gates of the track could be a challenge for the racers. Some of them actually crashed later in the race. But by far the most spectacular moment was delivered by a forerunner. He crashed into the gate and went up into the air. The photo is underexposed on purpose. I was looking for the nice morning backlight.”

Johann Andre Forfang of Norway competes during the Ski Jumping - Men's Team Large Hill on day 10 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on February 19, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VRII | ISO 2500 | 1/1600s | f/4.5 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“This is my personal favorite photo of the Games. It was my first day up on the ski-jumping hill and I was scheduled to produce simple stock action photos of each jumper in the first round. I found my position on the steps next to the rings. I was looking for something different when I saw the jumpers were flying over the Olympic Rings which have been branded down in the snow below them. I noticed that this would make a good picture. The idea did not work for all the jumpers, because this depended on the cut of their goggles. But some of them produced a really nice reflection while they flew over the rings. The black suite and the golden goggles of Johann Andre Forfang of Norway really made the difference.”

Gold medallist Sofia Goggia of Italy celebrates during the victory ceremony for the Ladies' Downhill on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Jeongseon Alpine Centre on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR | ISO 200 | 1/3200s | f/4 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“It's all about moments, it's all about emotions. The Olympic Games produce all of this and a photographer is a lucky person to participate. Gold medalist Sofia Goggia of Italy was overwhelmed after her victory in the Ladies' Downhill race. After the flower ceremony she knelt and showed one of these rare moments of heartbreaking and honest emotions.”

Jessica Diggins of the United States (14-2) stretches across the finish line to win gold ahead of Stina Nilsson of Sweden (12-2) during the Cross Country Ladies' Team Sprint Free Final on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR + AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III | ISO 2500 | 1/1600s | f/4.5 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“This photo of the Cross Country Ladies' Team Sprint Free Final shows how close it can be: Being an Olympic Champion or the loser. Sometimes it's about centimeters at the Olympics. And that's one of the great topics of still photography: We can visualize these moments.”

Torgeir Bergrem of Norway practices prior to the Men's Big Air Final on day 15 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre on February 24, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR + AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III | ISO 100 | 1/3200s | f/8 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

“Snowboard seems to be the new ‘big thing’ at the Winter Olympics. There are many different competitions - Big Air is one of them. The athletes come down a massive ramp and perform crazy moves and turns up in the air. The venue wasn't the most beautiful, so I looked for a different perspective and climbed up a little hill next to the ramp and got this shot.”