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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The 2014 Winter Olympics, will take place from 6 to 23 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Since 1988, Getty Images has been the Authorised Photo Agency for the IOC. Our coverage began with the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, while our archival Olympic imagery goes back over one hundred years.

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