Everything about the Olympics is fast, and the photographic games going on behind the scenes are no different. "It's all about speed," says the AP's Paquin. "It's really important to get images out almost as quickly as you would see them on TV."
That mandate's a tall order for photo agencies. The AP says it's filing some 2000 Sochi photos per day to its wire, and Getty Images and Reuters told me that each agency's photographers will shoot a combined 1 million frames over the course of the games.
White came in fourth and walked away without a medal in his best event. But the moment led to one of the most memorable shots of the Olympics so far. Some of the best sports photographers in the world captured the violence and drama of the split-second impact better than any video could. White's board, looking like it might snap in half. The American flag bandana startled out of place. White's mouth agape at the shock from the impact. This is what it looks like when you fail to defend your gold medal.
Less than three minutes after White hit the half pipe, the photo was on servers all over the world, ready for download by art directors and editors. We spoke to Ken Mainardis, Getty VP of sports imagery, and AP deputy photo director Denis Paquin about how the two huge photo operations make it happen.