With the 2018 Winter Olympic Games underway, sports photographers are flocking to PyeongChang, eager to snap shots and immortalize that perfect moment of Olympic history. Perching mere meters away from all that action doesn’t come without risk, however, a lesson one photographer learned yesterday when a skier crashed out of the women’s giant slalom and hurtled straight for him.
In her first run, Swiss skier Lara Gut lost her balance, causing her to slide completely off course, catapulting towards a fence, lined with photographers, at full-speed—here, she collided with photographer Sean Haffey.
Luckily enough, both were uninjured, and Gut is expected to participate in the Super-G event in 2 days. Haffey even managed to capture some epic shots of Gut flying towards him before they collided. The incident raised concerns for viewers, with comedian Leslie Jones tweeting the video and remarking that she now remembers why she never got into skiing. After the accident, Gut says, “I think it’s getting scary to be a photographer on skiing hills.” This is certainly true for skiing hills, but also for sports photography in general.
While the job has its perks—giving photographers a front row seat to some of the biggest sporting events around, where they get the chance to capture sports history as it unfolds—sitting so close to two hundred-pound linebackers, within range of a golf-ball flying upwards of 150 mph, or smack in the middle of screeching race cars hurling around a track, comes with a large risk factor. With so much happening at an incredibly fast-pace, it’s nearly impossible to foresee sports accidents before they happen, resulting in a lot of injured photographers caught in the firing line throughout the years.
Here are just a few of those times, and these are just the ones caught on camera.
A photographer takes a hit at the 2014 Cottonbowl:
A photographer just misses getting mowed down by a race car that veered off the tracks:
A photographer sits right in a golfball’s line of fire:
A photographer is nearly trampled to death by horses:
Though the practice merits some precaution, we wouldn’t have the epic action shots that capture some of the most famous moments in sport history without those brave enough to post up in the sidelines. And really, what’s life without a little risk?