NOTE: This is a replay of a blog I wrote in 2014 relating to photography at the Sochi Olympics, and I expect that the technology and processes in place to bring real-time imagry from Rio will be even more impressive.
Enjoy the Games!
I do love the Olympics! If you think that the athletes are the best in the world, read the linked articles about what it takes to record the Winter Games.
The Gizomodo article - The Inside Story of How Olympic Photographers Get Such Stunning Images - tells the incredible tale of how Getty Images and the AP can publish quality images to the world less than three minutes after they are taken on the snowy slopes of Sochi. Tens of thousands of dollars of the newest cameras and lenses, many miles of LAN cable, and dedicated 100Mbit WAN links bring us near-real time stills that tell the story that video alone can't provide.
We are visual creatures - 70% of our brain goes to processing images. Not only are pictures worth a thousand words, but they can tell us those 1,000 words in a fraction of a second. Shaun White's Olympic dreams ended in a fraction of a second when he missed his landing by a few inches. As the story's author Ario Aguilar describes it -
"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."
The article is a must-read.
Below is another article about photography at Sochi that tell you how the digital world has shrunk the clock for sports photographers, and there is a link to some beautiful Sochi images.