To capture this image of the Men’s Downhill gold-medal winner, Getty Images Photographer Ezra Shaw skied down the mountain – the Men’s Downhill course – early this morning in the dark to set up his camera position.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 09: Matthias Mayer of Austria skis during the Alpine Skiing Men's Downhill at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Each skier racing down the mountain is in the camera viewfinder for a quarter of a second, during which Ezra has to capture the athlete in peak form, perfectly exposed, with a clean background. Any one of the top 20 skiers is capable of winning the race, which means that Ezra has to repeat this each time to make sure he has a frame of the Olympic champion.

“A lot of preparation and planning goes into covering the Alpine Downhill, but it comes down to that fraction of a second when the skier comes flying down the mountain at 120 kilometers an hour (75 MPH). Everything comes together and you capture the moment — or you don’t. I was one of four guys on the mountain today and am proud that all of us captured great action of the new Olympic champion.”



Ezra Shaw has been a Getty Images staff photographer for more than 14 years. He is based in San Francisco and is in Sochi shooting his seventh Winter Olympics. 

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