For every sports photo that shows off the grace and athleticism of a competitor, there are others that capture the momentary awkwardness that helps make sports so great. Let’s take a look at some of the most well-timed sports photos in recent history. While athletes often make us drop our jaws in amazement, these photos are more likely to make you shake your head in laughter. You won’t soon forget these perfectly timed sports photos.
Gotta Catch Some Z’s
It’s very important for people to get the sleep that they need each night, but doubly so for world-class athletes. Here, a pole vaulter illustrates the need for quality sleep, as she can’t help but yawn even as she pole vaults over a dozen feet into the air!
Imagine how long you’d have to pole vault before the activity became this boring and commonplace. This young athlete has probably been pile vaulting since she was a baby. Imagine here pole vaulting out of her crib at a very young age.
This topsy-turvy tag was the result of a collision at home plate that also knocked the runner’s helmet off his head. Now, the moment of truth comes as the runner has tagged home plate and must wait to see if the catcher can hold onto the ball.
Remarkably, the Braves’ catcher in this photo did hold on, making a pivotal out in the first game of the 1991 World Series in the process. This looks like it must have hurt alone. No way he continued playing for the rest of the game.
Everyone knows that football is a dangerous sport, but photos really show just how hazardous the sport can be. Here, a Pittsburgh Steelers receiver has his head turned to a very unnatural angle by an opposing defender.
You also have to look at the way his facemask is being pulled. Sure, it’s a penalty, but that isn’t going to make the receiver’s neck feel any better in the morning! We wonder if he continued playing that night or if he went directly to the lockers.
This photo is definitely one to make the heart race. There are close races, and then there’s this race, where everything is lined up all the way down to the stride of the runners involved. Each is completing their hurdle at the exact same time.
Furthermore, you can see that both are completely focused on getting to the finish line as quickly as possible. This moment captures the intensity, focus, and athleticism necessary to be a successful hurdler.
Sometimes, photos require a bit more context to understand exactly what was going on. Similarly, there are some photos where even the most coordinated athletes can look like they’re fumbling, bumbling dolts.
However, the eyes of the audience and the defender in the photo show that the New York Knicks player was actually attempting a rather awkward shot, probably right before the buzzer at the end of the quarter.
Fish Out Of Water
I can only describe this picture as squishy. Look at that face. Effort can take a lot of different forms. Sometimes, you’ll see athletes make some rather awkward facial expressions as they force their bodies to do their bidding.
In this case, a competitive diver is so focused on tucking just right during her dive that she doesn’t even realize that she’s making the most convincing fish face this side of the Great Lakes. Good thing judges don’t care about divers’ facial expressions!
That’ll Cost You
Athletes make quite a big deal about their equipment, and when you’re an Olympic hurdler, there isn’t any piece of equipment more important than your shoes. The expression on this young atheles face says it all.
Therefore, this Ethiopian sprinter would appear to be in big trouble after losing a shoe at some point in the race. However, you may be surprised to learn that she qualified for the Olympic final even though she finished this race with one shoe!
A Little Tense
We know that gymnasts have the muscle tone to spare, but doesn’t this Olympian look a little…tense, nonetheless? When you watch gymnasts perform, their movements look so fluid and graceful that you’d never expect them to look like this in a photograph.
However, it’s hard to judge this competitor too harshly knowing that he’s doing who knows how many flips and twists as this photo is taken. This picture can only be described by the masses as truly amazing.
Soccer Is A Scary Sport
Many situations in sports provoke fearful responses from the players involved. Basketball players look scared as the potential game-winning shot is launched in the air by the other team. That isn’t the only thing that scared them.
Baseball pitchers often look scared when they watch one of their pitches hit toward the outfield fence. But what’s the deal here? What exactly could be happening to make players on opposing teams look so apprehensive? We may never know.
At first glance, this might appear to be some sort of water creature like the one in The Shape of Water. But that’s not the case. Instead, this is just a great example of how strange water can look when captured in mid-movement.
It also gives all the explanation you might need as to why competitive swimmers wear goggles. Hey, that chlorine isn’t easy on the eyes! This also reminds us of the X-Men movie. We all know the scene when that professor walks on the beach.
Pondering A Career Change
The rodeo isn’t all fun and games and rodeo clowns. You know how in the movies, the main character will sometimes be shown frozen in a very bad situation as a voiceover talks about everything that happened to put him in that position?
This is one of those moments. You can imagine this bullrider frozen upside down as he starts to ponder exactly what brought him to this point and whether a career change may be in order. We’re also surprised by how stoic the rider looks.
Sure, this Brazilian gymnastics coach is likely helping his gymnast get a deeper stretch, but there have to be better ways to do so than nonchalantly sitting on her back. This can end really bad for her if he doesn’t get up after awhile.
I mean, that girl is probably all of 100 pounds and she’s got a hairy adult man just sitting on her? Am I really alone in thinking that this probably isn’t very healthy behavior? He himself looks kind of sad and deep in thought.
You’re Still The King
Sometimes, you have to make your own entertainment. Somebody at home was watching a one-sided victory by the San Antonio Spurs over the hapless Dallas Mavericks. At that point, he noticed something amazing.
and realized that a referee’s head briefly aligned perfectly with the crown from the advertisement behind him. We all owe a big thank you to this person for pausing the game and capturing the moment so beautifully.
What’s That Translate To?
Sometimes, something gets a little lost in translation when foreign languages are involved. In this case, a name that is no doubt rather innocuous in China doesn’t quite look so good on the back of a jersey in English.
Still, at least we can be happy that someone thought to capture this special moment in sports history so we could all have a good laugh, right? It isn’t every day that we see a funny last name like this one. We must appreciate the moment.
Not Taking Any Crap
Next, we go from a volleyball player named “Takeshita” to a ref that clearly does not take any…well, crap. Apparently, one of the rugby teams on the field thought that this was the day to test the referee, but they were sorely mistaken, as you can plainly see here.
This ref was obviously once a player himself, and not only is he dragging one player off the field, but he’s about to toss aside the guy’s teammate, who’s trying to intervene. This older guy is taking no disrespect from these young players.
What A Display Of Balance
If this photo was taken a split second earlier, it would show a Venezuelan baseball player making a rather spectacular diving catch. Cool, but not necessarily that memorable and that might have something to do with no one knowing him.
Instead, it now appears as if he’s using just one hand to hold up his entire body, which is quite a feat of strength indeed. Or maybe there’s a huge gust of wind coming from the left side of the photo and he’s holding on for dear life? The possibilities are endless.
The wrestler in blue appears to be caught in a rather compromising position and is looking to the photographer for suggestions. I suppose the first tip would be to get your head out of the crotch of the wrestler in red?
Maybe then you could, um, pin him or something? Hey, photographers aren’t wrestling experts, so I don’t know what you’re expecting here. This definitely isn’t a photo that you want hanging on your wall for a memory.
Checking Out The View
Motocross riders are definitely a special breed. They are almost assured of sustaining dangerous injuries throughout their (relatively short) careers, and for a financial prize that’s a fraction of what your average basketball or baseball player makes.
Maybe the unique view of the world they get from moments like this is part of why they think so differently from the rest of us? He’s definitely built differently than most; look how calm he is! This takes a whole lot of skill.
Getting Ready To Pounce
This handball goaltender is really getting into the moment as she prepares to block the incoming shot. It appears that she’s using the long-forgotten “monkey technique,” which was banned from competitive handball in 1693 but has made a resurgence of late.
Of course, that’s all made up, but there’s no making up how completely awkward this photo looks. Hopefully, she at least made the save! That said, from the looks of it, it looks like she missed the ball almost completely.
The Power Of Meditation
This rather photogenic Notre Dame football player is as calm as you can be, especially while completely helmetless and being tackled by several very large men. What’s his secret? Yoga? Zen gardens? Hypnotism?
Or maybe he’s just completely nuts and lacking that all-important thing that keeps us alive by letting us know when we should be scared out of our minds? It’s hard to say. Hopefully everyone in this picture is okay and not hurt in a serious way.
Sure, these Olympic sprinters take competition very seriously, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little time to goof off, nonetheless. They aren’t only running against competition, but their peers. It should shock no one that these guys are friends.
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is having fun with one of his rivals and at the same time, letting him know that he wasn’t actually that close to beating him. All in the name of dominating your opponents mentally, right?
Head, Meet Foot
This photo would at first appear to be something straight out of a horror film. After all, the gymnast pictured seems to have lost her head, only to have it replaced with her foot. However, the reality really isn’t much less unsettling.
Sure, gymnasts have to be flexible, but doesn’t this amount of flexibility kind of seem unhealthy or even unnatural? Imagine if this is actually the way she looks and she just has a foot for a head. Imagine seeing that everyday.
Every now and then, you get a photo that’s taken at just the right time that shows the impact that happens in sports competitions. You’d think that taking a ball off your head wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
That said, you can see the impact here, which is causing the sweat from the player’s head to fly off at a crazy angle. Taking a ball off the head like this thousands of times can’t be good for your brain, can it?
No, Ball! Don’t Come Near Me!
NBA players really take advantage of the fact that they don’t have their faces obscured by helmets. Sometimes their acting can get a little theatrical, however. Look at the Milwaukee Bucks player here, for instance.
You can see that the player is quite animatedly trying to indicate to the ref that he wasn’t the last player to touch the ball. Instead, he looks like he’s seeing something truly terrifying just out of the frame.
Quite A Pair
I’m not sure if these two are twins, but they have really nailed this whole synchronized diving thing. You really have to have some serious discipline to perfectly sync a highly complex dive with another person.
These two have definitely put in some serious hours in practice. If you look closely, they even have the same pained facial expression. Those two expressions are the only ungraceful aspect in an otherwise perfect picture.
Talk about four massively tall individuals all standing shocked together. Most of the time, a loose ball during a basketball game prompts a mad dash by several players, all of whom want to secure possession for their team.
In this case, however, it appears that nobody on either team is particularly interested in seizing the opportunity to grab the ball. Instead, most of the players look mildly repulsed by it. Was there a booger on the ball or something?
Wildly Different Reactions
Everyone reacts differently to unexpected events, and this photo is a prime example of that. As you can see, some of the people look completely horrified by the approaching baseball.
Others, though, are just mildly amused by the whole thing, such as the sleeveless man in the middle of the photo. Then, you have the guy on the left, who is the picture of concentration as he stoically reaches out to catch the ball bare-handed.
Spider-Man, Is That You?
Sure, the comic book version of Spider-Man doesn’t actually have extra limbs, but isn’t this guy more of a spider since he apparently does? Imagine seeing this man climb across a wall. He looks so much like a spider and man combination.
Furthermore, should he be allowed to play soccer, since four arms doesn’t really give you an advantage in a sport where you almost exclusively use your legs? Maybe he just uses the extra arms to freak out and intimidate his opponents?