Best Shots of Olympians Celebrating a Win

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and after browsing through tons of photos of Olympians at that life changing moment when they know they’ve won, we can’t deny that the age-old cliché holds true. 

And while we have the technology of today to watch every win on video playback, catching that perfect moment on film when a winner realizes their hopes and dreams have come true isn’t exactly easy.

Here are a few of our favorite photos of Olympians celebrating their win – photos of raw emotion that are truly moving, no matter who the subject is.


  • Marius Daniel Urzica of Romania celebrated his win at 2004 Athens Olympics by embracing the surreal moment.

    Image via National Geographic

  • Usain Bolt may be rankes by Sportspro as the fourth most marketable athlete in the world, but it’s clear each of his successes is just important as his last. Pictured is his winning stance at the 2008 Olympics.

    Image via Seattle Times

  • Prepare to hear the name Ryan Lochte more often, swim fans! This 2012 Olympic hopeful is pictured celebrating his backstroke success at the 2008 games in Beijing.

    Image via MSNBC

  • Olympic gold winner Carl Lewis finishes the race with pride – this win at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics resulted in his receiving his ninth Olympic gold medal.

    Image via National Geographic

  • Germany’s 2008 lift winner Matthias Steiner is overcome with emotion as he realizes he has just won the gold. His face says it all – it was all worth it.

    Image via Seattle Times

  • Even in black and white the emotion in this photo of Seb Coe in the 1980 Moscow Olympics can’t be denied – a combination of pride, revenge, and pure bliss make this one of the most unforgettable images in Olympic history.

    Image via Daily Mail

  • One of the Olympians who needs no introduction, Michael Phelps celebrates his 2008 win with his fellow team member in a competition of the vocal chords.

    Image via Telegraph

  • Britain’s Kelly Holmes celebrates her victory with a look of shock and amazement. It looks like the competition was a close call – the happy victor is photographed with 2 exhausted competitors right on her tail.

    Image via Telegraph

  • Italy’s bronze-medal winner Margherita Granbassi celebrates her victory in the women’s fencing competition of the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing.

    Image via Zimbio

  • Two-time gold Olympian Artur Taymazov is a native born Ossetian wrestler competing on the Uzbekistan Olympic Team. His winning stance exudes pure pride and strength, just like his performance.

    Image via Ossetians

  • Russia’s two-time gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva holds a number of records and awards, but the 2008 Olympics threatened her title as “greatest female pole-vaulter of all time”. Fortunately, she was able to bounce back and grab the gold medal and we had the chance to view this inspiring photo.

    Image via Pure Sky Vaulting

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