It is the zenith of all sporting events. It originated from Ancient Greece and has persevered through the ages to be one of the most well known events around the world. To compete in the Olympic games is the desire of many athletes. Athletes strive to condition their bodies to be able to sustain the intense competition that is expected of the Games. Annie Leibovitz is able to capture the essence of the athletes" bodies in her photographs. Leibovitz reveals the physical nature of Olympic competition by the defined physical appearance, intense focus of facial expressions, and competitive positions of her athletic subjects.
Each Olympian in the photographs shows definite attributes of physical fitness. Society's general depiction of an athlete varies, but it is usually one with muscles all pumped up or having low body fat. My expectation of an Olympic athlete, however, is one that is not all huge and pumped up but rather has an efficient body size that uses all bodily muscles to best accomplish the task of the event. Efficiency is necessary because an athlete that does track, for example, cannot weigh 250 pounds of fat and muscle. The track athlete must be strong but light and appear fluent in his or her movements in order to accomplish the fastest time or the longest jump. Therefore, these photographs show athletes as strong, muscular machines designed specifically for each event they do. For example, the picture of Dennis Mitchell portrays the muscular definition that is typical of a track athlete; the bodies" muscles are very defined, large yet efficient, and all working simultaneously. The picture of Jackie Joyner - Kersee, a javelin thrower, shows her strong arms for throwing, firm abdominal muscles for balance, and muscular legs for power. Lily Yip, a table tennis player, is small and petite, but her size is efficient in allowing her to react quickly to the direction of the table tennis ball.