Usain Bolt stole the show at the Olympics on Sunday night, when he made the competition look silly as he watched them while he crossed the finish line with ease. It was something we’ve gotten used to seeing out of Bolt, but it never gets old.
Luckily for the internet, Getty Images photographer Cameron Spencer captured a photo that could not have described the night more perfectly. It was appropriately turned into a meme, arguably the best one of the Olympics.
— Cameron Spencer (@cjspencois) August 15, 2016
Spencer talked to The Hollywood Reporter, and said that the shot almost didn’t happen. He told THR that he was supposed to be getting field events, but he decided at the last second to try to get a slow-motion shot of Bolt.
“At the time, I knew it was cool, but I didn’t know it would turn out to be as popular as it turned out to be,” he tells THR.
The image, which became an instant meme on social media, almost didn’t get made.
Spencer, who is currently covering his fifth Olympic Games, explains his assignment was shooting field events on Sunday, but he made a quick decision to try and get a slow-motion shot of the Jamaican sprinter known as the world’s fastest man.
Spencer, a photographer for 14 years, says the “risk” to break from assignment when he ran across the field, ending up about 20 meters away from the track, was worth it.
“I’m pretty over the moon it worked out the way it did,” he says. “I think [Bolt’s] personality really shines through. He’s a showman, and he loves to entertain the crowd.”
When Spencer checked his frame right after taking the picture, he knew he had a good image, but he didn’t know how good until his phone started blowing up at the end of the night with friends and family congratulating him, “which is always nice to receive,” he says.
Spencer told THR that the photo will undoubtedly be entered in for competitions, as well for a Pulitzer Prize. And why not? That photo likely won’t be topped during the Olympics, the world’s biggest sporting event every four years.
This is also a great lesson in going with your gut.