30 iconic sports photos from Getty Images at the 2021 Paralympic Games

Beauty comes in myriad, unexpected forms and the 2021 Paralympic Games were a perfect example. Here are the most iconic sports photos from Getty Images at this year’s event.

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Kumudu P. Dissanayake Mudiyanselage of Team Sri Lanka competes in the Women’s Long Jump – T47 on day 10 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

The long jump offers beautiful imagery of the athletes’ midair. An editor of mine noted that the landing better captured the strength and intensity of the jumper. The hope in focusing on the landing was to draw attention to the power being harnessed by the jumper. You can see from her expression and the direction of the sand, the force in which she lands with. This for me is often one of the main things I’m looking for in action coverage, isolating a moment to better show the power harnessed that would otherwise be lost to the eye when viewing the sequence.

— Carmen Mandato

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Gabriel Geraldo dos Santos Araujo of Team Brazil reacts after winning the gold medal in the men’s 50m Backstroke – S2 final on day 9 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on September 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

This image is of Gabriel Geraldo dos Santos Araujo of Brazil after winning the gold medal in the men’s 50m Backstroke – S2 final. When Araujo had won medals previously, I noticed that he collected some pool water in his mouth and then sprayed it as part of his celebration, so I knew I wanted to capture this. I love the movement and design of the water midair, which really captures the spirit of the moment and Araujo’s excitement for winning gold. He was a major highlight of the Paralympics Games for me — after winning several gold medals, he always put on a show at the podium with some dance moves that brought a cheer to the whole arena!

— Naomi Baker

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Team Spain reacts at the start of the second half against Team United States during the Women’s Wheelchair basketball Preliminary Round Group B game on day 2 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Ariake Arena on August 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

This photo was taken during the start of the second half of the preliminary round with Team USA and Team Spain. This was an incredible moment among Spain, showing their camaraderie as a team and determination to keep going. They fought the entire game, even under the superiority of the American team. I love this angle looking up at the players.

— Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Uran Sawada of Team Japan and her guide Ryuhei Shiokawa compete in the 4x100m Universal Relay heat on day 10 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on September 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

In an empty stadium, the Tokyo Organizing Committee had set up the seat coloring so that it didn’t look like a Paralympic Games without spectators, but I still wanted to use this photo to show the atmosphere of the game during the pandemic. I love the lean of Uran Sawada of Team Japan and her guide off the starting blocks and how the image is focused on the runners, but also conveys a much simpler moment in the bigger context of the competition and Games as a whole.

— Lintao Zhang

Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Tao Zheng of Team China, Weiyi Yuan of Team China and Yaroslav Semenenko of Team Ukraine compete during the men’s 50m butterfly – S5 final on day 3 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

I was trying to illustrate the athletes’ speed and power through the water in this photo. They really remind me of torpedoes and just the speed they can swim with no arms is absolutely amazing. I like this angle, as underwater you can really see the swimmers’ athleticism and it also makes for an aesthetically pleasing, elegant image with the reflections on the surface as well. I remember seeing these same athletes as boys in Beijing and when I was scheduled to cover swimming here in Tokyo, I made sure to look back at past coverage as I had some unfinished business to capture a great image this time around.

— Adam Pretty

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Cansu Merve Demir of Team Turkey serves during her women’s singles table tennis match on day 2 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on August 26, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

What stood out to me at this moment was how Cansu Merve Demir of Team Turkey was serving the ball with her elbow. I really wanted to capture this moment of the serve to showcase this. I used a long lens to keep the background dark and worked a lot of angles to try and get this perfect moment. I was also trying to capture the Tokyo 2020 logo on the ball which is very difficult to get so I took quite a few like this to get that moment right. I really love Demir’s focus in this shot.

— Naomi Baker

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Fleur Schouten of Team Netherlands competes in the Women’s Long Jump T63 on day 9 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

When photographing long jump you tend to come away with a lot of frames that are fairly similar just of different athletes, but what stood out to me with this image is the shape that Fleur Schouten of Team Netherlands makes while in the air, making for a very dynamic image.

— Alex Pantling

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Mtjia Sloup of Team Croatia competes in Men’s Shot Put – F40 Final on day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

Shooting the infield during the Athletics competition is one space in which time disappears. There is so much going on — javelin, shot put, high jump and then covering the track finish line — so I was lucky that the F40 athletes were competing near the track finish so I could cover both. Mtjia Sloup of Team Croatia was one of many whose power was not difficult to show in an image. The physical presence of this athlete was one of the things that stood out, coupled with the hat and sunglasses, he conveyed a certain attitude which I hoped would come across in a nice photo.

— Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Amber Merritt of Team Australia controls the ball against Mayo Hagino of Team Japan in the second half during the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Group A game on day 1 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza on August 25, 2021, in Chofu, Japan.

Wheelchair basketball was extremely interesting to witness — the use of the wheelchairs in a specific way to imitate circular movement was incredible. A few of the photos from under the basket looked stoic and didn’t represent the athleticism being displayed. I hoped a shutter drag would better represent the speed and intensity the athletes were displaying.

— Carmen Mandato

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Silver medalist Hideki Uda of Team Japan gives gold medalist Alexis Hanquinquant of Team France his medal during the men’s PTS4 Triathlon medal ceremony on day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on August 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

This image was from the first day of the Paralympic Triathlon medal ceremonies. All of the award ceremonies during this Paralympic Games required the athletes to put on their own medals where usually the medals are put around their necks. During this moment, silver medalist Hideki Uda of Team Japan gives gold medalist Alexis Hanquinquant of Team France his medal. It truly embodies the spirit of the Paralympics as they’re no longer opponents, they’re like friends helping each other. I think it’s very meaningful to record these types of moments.

— Lintao Zhang

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Rauoa Tlili of Team Tunisia competes in Women’s Shot Put – F41 Final on day 3 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

I love this photo for clear the determination to win the gold. Rauoa Tlili of Team Tunisia put all her strength in the shot put competition and especially into this final to secure the gold medal. Both her physical and mental strength are shown here and you can see the force of Tlili here with her hair whipping in front of her face.

— Buda Mendes

Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Veronica Yoko Plebani of Team Italy crosses the finish line and winning the bronze medal in the women’s PTS2 Triathlon on day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on August 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

The moment Veronica Yoko Plebani of Team Italy crossed the finish line was amazing. She was really overcome with joy and it was a pleasure to witness and try and capture some of her emotions. Funnily enough, I was chatting to her before the start of the race as I was in the water for the start and she was right next to me. Plebani was really, really relaxed and it was great to see her win a medal.

— Adam Pretty

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Matt Stutzman of Team United States competes in the men’s archery individual ranking round on day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Yumenoshima Park Archery on August 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

While the focus of these games is on the incredible resilience and skill of the athletes, we still have to keep in mind dynamic storytelling. Composition often becomes the only tool we can utilize due to competition times being midday in poor light. The incredible skill of Matt Stutzman of Team USA is best represented by showing his use of his feet to hold the bow. I waited for a head-on position to capture him giving the clearest view to what was astonishing to everyone on-site at the venue.

— Carmen Mandato

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Nathan Petit of Team France faces Eduardo Sanchez of Team Mexico in the Men’s 81kg Bronze medal contest A on day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

What stands out to me here is the aggression on Eduardo Sanchez’s face, showing how much he is putting into the match and how much coming away with a medal would mean to him.

— Alex Pantling

Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Alejandro Sanchez Palomero of Team Spain exits the swim portion of the men’s PTS4 Triathlon on day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on August 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

The swim exit is one of my favorite places to shoot during the triathlon. You can capture athletes emerging from the water and the strain of the swim leg shown on their faces and bodies, which can lead to pretty dramatic images. It was my first time shooting the Paralympic triathlon and it was amazing as some athletes who only had one leg were given assistance up and out of the water by volunteers and the feeling of support and community in the race was really evident.

— Adam Pretty

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Eva Andrea Hajmasi of Team Hungary reacts following their win in the Women’s Team Foil Bronze Medal Match on day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Makuhari Messe on August 29, 2021, in Chiba, Japan.

For this photo, it had been late in the bronze medal match and points were being exchanged quickly. Team Hungary’s Eva Andrea Hajmasi’s teammates were cheering her on from the side and I thought she may react to winning or losing as the pressure was building. To get reaction shots, you have to make a choice on where you think the athlete may look in the heat of the moment. Thankfully, Hajmasi reacted towards her teammates as I had hoped, but in an even bigger way. The raw emotion is evident here and showcases the beauty of sport.

— Carmen Mandato

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Martin Schulz of Team Germany reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the gold medal during the men’s PTS5 Triathlon on day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on August 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

This is one of my favorite frames from the Paralympic Games. I was photographing from a raised position in the hope for some action to happen next to the Paralympics agitos logo. Then when Team Germany’s Martin Schulz crossed the finish line and collapsed, I thought it portrayed the difficulties of competing in such an event.

— Alex Pantling

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Fabiola Ramirez of Team Mexico competes in Women’s 100m Freestyle – S1 on day 6 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

This image of Fabiola Ramirez of Team Mexico really showcases the beauty and elegance of swimming as she pushes herself through the water. This angle really shows her height and form and love how the water creeps on her back like she’s gliding midair.

— Lintao Zhang

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Ryley Batt of Team Australia scores a try against Yukinobu Ike of Team Japan during the bronze medal wheelchair rugby match on day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Yoyogi National Stadium on August 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

I loved watching and photographing wheelchair rugby. A sport I knew very little about before going into the games, but the pure passion and aggression the athletes put into each game was fascinating. With the players being knocked out of their chairs quite regularly from big tackles, I was hoping that something like this may happen right in front of me.

— Alex Pantling

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Jairo Ruiz Lopez of Team Spain competes in the Men’s PTS5 Triathlon at Odaiba Marine Park on day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at on August 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

Photographing moving water with a high shutter speed always makes an image stand out and this is no exception. The design of the water draws the viewer right in, along with the contrasting colors from the platform and swimsuit.

— Alex Pantling

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for New Zealand Paralympic Committee

Karolina Pelendritou of Team Cyprus reacts after winning the gold medal and setting a world record in the women’s 100m Breastroke – SB11 final on day 8 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on September 1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

This is one of my favorite images from the pool. Karolina Pelendritou of Team Cyprus had won some races earlier that I covered so knew if she won again, there would be a quick burst of emotion. This time I wanted the background different so got as close to the ground as I could and waited for the split second after she heard the result as this was one of the visually impaired category races. Once the announcement with the official result came over the PA, Pelendritou burst into celebration splashing the water and I was lucky to have the water surround her with a nice shape making a decent photo into one I’m very proud of.

— Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Na Li Lei of Team Australia serves during the Women’s Table Tennis Singles – Class 9 Final Match of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on August 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

This photo was taken during the Women’s Table Tennis Singles – Class 9 Final. Taking advantage of the dark environment, I thought of the multiple exposure feature, which would create more movement in the serving action of Team Australia’s Na Li Lei. The composition fits perfectly in what I envisioned. Like athletes taking chances during play, risking different camera features, compositions and shutter speeds during competition is fundamental to our profession and pays off creatively as you can see here.

— Buda Mendes

Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Michel Gustavo Abraham De Deus of Team Brazil competes in the Men’s Long Jump – T47 Final on day 7 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

I wanted to shoot the long jump from as low an angle as possible so I could try and illustrate the impact of the athletes when they land in the sandpit after their jump, as well as the explosion of sand and the strain from the impact on their bodies. This combination of elements all coming together makes for a really great picture all around.

— Adam Pretty

Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Marybai Huking of Team United States fails to make a save against Team Turkey in the women’s Goalball gold medal match on day 10 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on September 3, 2021, in Chiba, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Alicja Jeromin of Team Poland starts as she competes in the Women’s 100m – T47 Round 1 – Heat 2 on day 7 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Megan Hollander of Team Netherlands competes against Beatriz Monteiro of Team Portugal during Badminton Women’s Singles SU5 on day 8 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Yoyogi National Stadium on September 1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

iconic sports photos

Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Zhou Zhaoqian of Team China crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the Women’s 1500m – T54 on day 7 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Ningning Cao of Team China competes against Valentin Baus of Team Germany in men’s singles class 5 gold medal match table tennis on day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on August 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Maximiliano Espinillo of Team Argentina celebrates after he scores his side’s second goal with German Muleck during the Preliminary Round Group B match on day 6 of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park on August 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Shingo Kunieda of Team Japan competes against Gordon Reid of Team Great Britain in the Wheelchair Tennis Men’s Singles Semifinal on day 9 of the Tokyo Paralympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on September 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

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