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Rio 2016 In Pictures Most of the time an iconic image stands out quickly

This summer, all eyes turn to Rio and the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Maybe you’ve been looking forward to it for a few days now, perhaps you’ve been counting down the last few weeks. Ken Mainardis and his team at Getty Images have been preparing for this moment for seven years.

“I always say the Olympic Games is two very big projects – the planning and the event itself,” says Ken, Getty Images’ Vice President of Sports Imagery and Services. “The planning phase is like pushing an enormous rock up a very large mountain. Your job as you push that rock to the top of the hill is to position it in exactly the right place, so when the event starts, and the rock starts to roll down the hill, it is on exactly the right trajectory.

“If it is slightly off course at an event as big as the Olympics, it is extremely difficult to make adjustments as it speeds down the hill.” But, Ken insists, his team is ready. “We are confident that we are exactly where we need to be. Once the event starts, it gains its own rhythm and energy.”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JULY 31: The Christ the Redeemer statue is seen on July 31 , 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

This energy will consume Ken for the next two-and-a-bit weeks. Getty Images has 120 people on the ground including 40 expert sports photographers and 20 photo editors. The photographers are among the best in the world; they will work up to 18 hours a day on tightly-planned schedules to ensure they capture these Games from every angle imaginable. For those angles you can’t imagine, Getty Images has installed 20 robots in various venues, “in places where humans could never access.”

This network will generate 1.5 million images across the 306 Olympic events, with 5,000 photographs a day uploaded to the Getty Images platforms. A particular focus will be on creating immersive 360 degree imagery.

But among this whirlwind of creative activity, how will the Getty Images editorial team wade through and identify the best of the best? Ken believes there are several criteria for a really iconic Olympic image.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JULY 31: Nathan Hart of Australia practices during a track cycling training session at the Rio Olympic Velodrome on July 31, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

“Firstly, it must define the moment. Not the moment before or after the athlete wins gold, or falls from the beam, but the moment in which that happens. Secondly, wow factor. Many people will have watched a live broadcast, but a photographer can show a different perspective of the same event which makes people stop and appreciate the moment in a whole new way.

“Thirdly, images should give the viewer the visual cue that this is the Rio Games, whether it’s the volleyball on Copacabana beach or the sailing against the backdrop of Rio city. Fourthly, a narrative. An image has to tell the story of the moment through visual cues.”

Ken also focuses on exclusivity – getting the shots his competitors don’t have – and speed. Thanks to a high-tech system and an experienced team, Getty Images will make images available online within two minutes of the camera clicking.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 01: Giovanna Pedroso (L) and Ingrid de Oliveira of Brazil practices on the Women’s 10m Platform at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park on August 1 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

In the moment, Ken and his team of editors will make a series of decisions about what best sums up the action they are seeing. But there are other variables that will affect whether, over time, an image becomes one of the classic Olympic photographs.

“Most of the time an iconic image stands out quickly and you know it will live in the visual history of the Games forever,” Ken says. “However, sometimes an image can gain that status over time.” The challenge, and the fun of Ken’s job, lies in that uncertainty.

Throughout the Games, we are working with Getty Images to showcase one image a day captured in the midst of the greatest sporting show on earth. They will be uploaded to our special WeTransfer gallery here, and added below as an archive.

Day 0

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 20: People walk past a section of a mural depicting indigenous faces being created by Brazilian graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra and assistants in the revamped Port District on July 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 32,000-square-foot mural, titled We Are All One is being painted to represent cultural diversity across continents and will be completed shortly before the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 5. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Day 1

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 05: Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Day 2

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 06: Oliver Hegi of Switzerland competes on the horizontal bar in the Artistic Gymnastics Men's Team qualification on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Rio Olympic Arena on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Day 3

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07: Alexander Massialas of the United States defeats Artur Akhmatkhuzin of Russia during Men's Individual Foil Round of 16 on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 3 on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Day 4

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Stephanie Fotso Mogoung of Cameroon plays a shot during the Women's Preliminary Pool A match between Cameroon and Japan on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracanazinho on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Day 5

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: Esraa Ahmed of Egypt competes during the Women's 63kg Group B Weightlifting contest on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro - Pavilion 2 on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Day 6

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 10: Viktoria Zeynep Gunes of Turkey competes in the Women's 200m Breaststroke heat on Day 5 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 10, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Day 7

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Esteban Grimalt reaches for a pick up as Marco Grimalt of Chile looks on playing against Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland during the Men's Preliminary - Pool E, Match 29 on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Beach Volleyball Arena on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Day 8

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14: Usain Bolt of Jamaica wins the Mens 100m final on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Day 9

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13: Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britain competes in the Women's Heptathlon Long Jump on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Day 10

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14: Usain Bolt of Jamaica wins the Mens 100m final on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Day 11

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Riders compete in the Cycling Track Men's Omnium Points Race 66 on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Velodrome on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Day 12

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Eliza Mccartney of New Zealand competes during the Women's Pole Vault Qualifying Round - Group A on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Day 13

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 17: Naomi van As of the Netherlands shoots at goal under pressure from Nike Lorenz of Germany who was hit on the head with her stick during the women's semifinal match between the Netherlands and Germany on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Hockey Centre on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Day 14

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 18: The team of Russia compete during the Synchronised Swimming Teams Technical Routine at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on Day 13 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Day 15

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 19: Sun Yating of China is challenged during the Women's Water Polo 7th - 8th Classification match between Brazil and China on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Day 16

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: Anne Terpstra of Netherlands races in a group during the Women's Cross-Country Mountain Bike Race on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Mountain Bike Centre on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Day 17

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21: Carnival singers and dancers perform as fireworks explode near the conclusion of the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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  • 1. Day 0
  • 2. Day 1
  • 3. Day 2
  • 4. Day 3
  • 5. Day 4
  • 6. Day 5
  • 7. Day 6
  • 8. Day 7
  • 9. Day 8
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  • 11. Day 10
  • 12. Day 11
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  • 16. Day 15
  • 17. Day 16
  • 18. Day 17