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Sports photography master class: Classic Olympic photos

By Ashley Strickland, CNN
July 24, 2012 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
Famed sports photographer Neil Leifer dreamed of getting this shot of 1976 Olympic star Nadia Comaneci. Because of his determination, planning and excellent position in the gym, he did. The photo exemplifies the 14-year-old's performance at the 1976 games -- she was the first gymnast in Olympic history to be awarded the perfect score of 10. Perpendicular to the balance beam, Leifer cut out any other distractions and focused on Comaneci during a peak moment. She's practically dancing on air, performing against the dark curtain of the audience. It captures her grace beautifully and simply, and freezes her victory in time. Famed sports photographer Neil Leifer dreamed of getting this shot of 1976 Olympic star Nadia Comaneci. Because of his determination, planning and excellent position in the gym, he did. The photo exemplifies the 14-year-old's performance at the 1976 games -- she was the first gymnast in Olympic history to be awarded the perfect score of 10. Perpendicular to the balance beam, Leifer cut out any other distractions and focused on Comaneci during a peak moment. She's practically dancing on air, performing against the dark curtain of the audience. It captures her grace beautifully and simply, and freezes her victory in time.
HIDE CAPTION
1976: Nadia Comaneci, gymnastics
1980: Seb Coe, track and field
2004: Cycling
2008: Swimming
2008: Usain Bolt, track and field
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sports photographers will descend on London for the 2012 Olympics
  • Click through the gallery above to see some classic photos from Olympics past
  • Put yourself to the test with CNN iReport's sports photography master class
  • Need more ideas? Check out sports photography tips from experts

(CNN) -- The Olympic Games have produced some of the greatest sports moments in history. And to go along with the great moments, there are often great photos: images that craft our memory of these moments.

Click through the gallery above to see some classic Olympic photos and read about why they're great (be sure to toggle the hide/show caption button to see each frame in its entirety). Then put your own photo skills to the test with CNN iReport's sports photography master class.

Also visit CNN's