21 gravity-defying photos of Olympians soaring through the water and air

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

New Technology at the Olympics

The Olympics, particularly the summer Olympics, are a kind of festival for elite sports photography.

There's no two weeks in the year that produce a heftier haul of world-class images of athletic competition.

All the major agencies covering the games fight for an edge in the photographic shoot-out. And this year, Getty added a new weapon to its arsenal: a small army of underwater robots.

Here's what you need to know about them, along with some of the amazing images they've created.

23 PHOTOS
Gravity-defying photos of Olympic athletes
See Gallery
Gravity-defying photos of Olympic athletes

The Olympics are a bonanza for beautiful photography of the human body in motion.

Divers in action during training at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in Rio de Janerio on August 4, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

All the major sports photographers compete to take the most creative and mind-boggling photos possible.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men's 100 meter semifinal on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

I've always been partial to shots of Olympians suspended in the air.

Pandelela Rinong of Malaysia in action during diving training at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in Rio de Janerio on August 4, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

There's something mind-bending about them.

Divers practice as the sun sets during a training session at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 4, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

But in 2016 the underwater photos are, if anything, even more astonishing.

Ruolin Chen and Huixia Liu of China practice ahead of the Women's Diving Synchronised 10m Platform Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

The greenish hue of the diving pool, caused by an algae bloom after some mistakes in pool management, helps.

Vincent Riendeau of Canada practices on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

And it's not unusual for Olympic pools to be full of waterproof cameras.

But Getty tells us that this year was the first time they installed fully-articulated robotic cameras in the Olympic pools.

Getty photographers are using video game controllers to follow the action in the pool.

Laszlo Cseh of Hungary competes in the Men's 200m Butterfly heat on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Previously, like in this photo from the London 2012 Olympics, photographers just had static cameras they could trigger.

Great Britain competes in the Women's Teams Synchronised Swimming Free Routine final on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The underwater photography is still pretty new to the Olympics. In 2004 Getty was the only agency to have an underwater camera looking up at swimmers from below.

Ian Thorpe of Australia competes in the men's swimming 400 metre freestyle heat on August 14, 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)

And they got some awesome shots.

Sebastian Castaneda Villa of Columbia competes in the Men's 10m Platform Diving Preliminary on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

But photographers had to rely a lot more on guesswork when it came to setting their shots, since they had no opportunity to adjust their cameras in the middle of competition.

Noemi Batki of Italy competes in the Women's 10m Platform Diving Semifinal on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

In this year's games, photographers are free to tilt and whirl their cameras, which opens up a whole new world of opportunity.

Competitors practice for the Women's 3m Springboard competition during a training session at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The result is more dramatic, beautiful shots for us to enjoy.

Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the Men's 200m Individual Medley heat on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The results aren't just artistic though.

Michael Phelps (L) of the United States and Ryan Lochte (R) of the United States compete in the Men's 200m Individual Medley Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Underwater photos tell the Olympics' stories in new ways — like this image showing the moment Simone Manuel of the United States (left) and Penny Oleksiak of Canada (right) tied for the gold medal in the Women's 100m Freestyle.

Simone Manuel of the United States (L) and Penny Oleksiak of Canada (R) tie for the gold medal in the Women's 100m Freestyle Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Or this image of Katie Ledecky leaving eight of the world's best swimmers in her wake during the Women's 800m Freestyle Final.

Katie Ledecky of the United States leads the field in the Women's 800m Freestyle Final on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Getty tells us they have 20 robotic cameras in action across all the Olympic venues.

Katie Ledecky of the United States competes in the Women's 200m Freestyle heat on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

The underwater robots, which Getty developed with Mark Roberts Motion Control and Nikon, let their controllers alter their vantage point and focal length, and swivel the camera 360 degrees.

Emilie Heymans of Canada competes in the Women's 3m Springboard Diving Preliminary Round on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The results are amazing.

Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree of Britain compete in the Women's Diving Synchronised 3m Springboard Final on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Though we have to admit, the photography happening above the water's surface isn't half bad either.

Xuechen Huang and Wenyan Sun of China compete in the Women's Duets Synchronised Swimming Free Routine Preliminary Round on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

See Also:

SEE ALSO: We talked to a pool expert about what's going on with the stinky green Olympic pool, and he gave us some gross insight

AND: Officials fear some Olympic athletes might be altering their genes to cheat in Rio


Read Full Story

People are Reading