As the countdown continues to Rio 2016, follow along as we deliver a daily dose of unforgettable moments and iconic images from Summer Olympics past.

 

Seoul, 1988: Feel the 'Flo' #50Days50Moments With her blazing speed, and her signature long and colorful nails, Florence Griffith-Joyner, known as #FloJo, lit up the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games. The American sprinter won three #trackandfield gold medals – coming in the 100m, 200m and as the anchor of the 4x100m relay. Her record-setting times in both the 100m (10.49 sec) and 200m (21.34 sec) earned her the fitting title of the 'fastest woman of all time'. The 1988 Games would end up being her last, as she retired a year later due, as some speculate, to avoid testing for banned substances. Sadly, 'Flo Jo' died tragically at just 38 years-old from suffocation during an epileptic seizure | October 1, 1988 | : Maja-Moritz / Bongarts | #Rio2016 #GettySport # #Olympics

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Beijing, 2008: Moon lighting #50Days50Moments "I was rushing from one event to the other, heading to the 'Bird's Nest' for the men's 100m final. As my colleague and I turned a corner, we saw a stunning #fullmoon rising above the stadium and we could not believe our luck! Because we were running late, I had to decide if it would be worth stopping to shoot this picture, possibly risking my spot for the 100m among all the other photographers lined up inside the stadium. I decided I could shoot this image quickly. Luckily, I had a long lens with me, as it would have been difficult to capture without it. I waited a few minutes for the moon to move in line with the torch and this was the result." – @ryanpierse (via BBC Sport) | August 18, 2008 | #Gettysport #Rio2016 #Olympics # # #

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Beijing, 2008: Victory hugs. #50Days50Moments “Michael Phelps’ pursuit of Mark Spitz’s then-record of seven gold medals was one of, if not the biggest story of the 2008 Beijing #Olympics. And I was lucky enough to be there the night he broke it, when #USA won the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay in world record time. As one of the few photographers allowed in the gantry atop the National Aquatics Centre, I was able to capture #MichaelPhelps’ triumphant moment from a unique angle. We were only allowed one lens with us at a time for safety reasons, so before the medal ceremony I went to exchange my 500mm lens for the wider 70-200mm. With the smaller lens in hand, I positioned myself directly above Phelps’ family in the crowd, thinking he might wave to them from pool side. To my luck, as he made his victory lap around the arena, he not only waved to his mother and two sisters, but walked through a sea of photographers to hug them.” – Ezra Shaw (@eoshaw) | August 17, 2008 | #Rio2016 # # #

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London, 2012: Silencing the doubters. #50Days50Moments “I was covering the much-anticipated Men’s 100m race at the London 2012 Summer Games, which featured the defending Olympic champion, Jamaica’s #UsainBolt. In such a fast-moving event like the #100m, there are always some challenges and pressure. From the moment that gun goes off, the entire thing is over in under 10 seconds, which means there’s only a 2 second window to get the shot from when they reach the 80m mark. I was in a position straight beyond the finish line, operating my camera on a 70-200 lens and zoomed out. I thought Bolt would win, and there’s a temptation to focus solely on him, so I was happy that the top contenders drew lanes right next to each other, making the finish easier to shoot. When they crossed the finish line, I wasn’t 100% sure Bolt had won, but his gesture says it all. The ‘World’s Fastest Man’ letting everyone know that he’s still boss.” — Michael Steele | August 5, 2012 | #GettySport #Rio2016 #Olympics ##⚡️# ⬇️ Click the link in our bio to see more stunning Olympic moments…

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Atlanta, 1996: That legendary landing. #50Days50Moments After an awkward landing on her first vault attempt left USA’s #KerriStrug with two torn ligaments in her left ankle, all hope of America’s first-ever #gymnastics team gold medal seemed lost. To defeat the Russians, they would need one more vault from the injured Strug. What happened next is the stuff of legend. In severe pain and under immense pressure, the 4-foot-9 gymnast summoned the unimaginable strength and courage to make her second vault. With the eyes of a nation upon her, she sprinted down the runway on her damaged ankle, vaulted high into a twist, and absolutely stuck the landing. Her score of 9.712 guaranteed #TeamUSA their much coveted first team gold. In one of the most enduring images and iconic moments in #Olympics history, Strug’s coach Bela Karolyi picked her up in his arms and carried her to the podium to receive her medal. | July 23, 1996 | : Doug Pensinger | #Rio2016 # #❤️

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Beijing, 2008: Midair, making history #50Days50Moments “I was one of a small number of photographers who were allowed to take positions in the catwalk in the roof of #Beijing’s National Stadium for what would be a day long shoot. The women’s #polevault final was the last event of the session and we were all looking forward to coming down, as it was extremely tight quarters and very, very hot. I like this photo of Russia’s Elena Isinbaeva because the blue of the mat gives the appearance that she’s floating in the sky. Her unobstructed reaction and the position of the pole were so lucky. The fact that it set a then-world record and won her the gold medal makes the photo that much more meaningful, as it epitomizes what the #Olympics is all about.” – Harry How (@howharryisharry) #GettySport #Rio2016 #RoadtoRio

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Beijing, 2008: Is it the shoes? #50Days50Moments “I was in one of the last photo positions to the side of the finish line for the Men’s #100m Final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, one of the most highly-anticipated events in all of sport. The race was over so quickly, however I somehow remember every one of the world record-setting 9.69 seconds it took for Jamaica’s #UsainBolt to claim gold. Almost immediately after Bolt crossed the finish line, many of the photographers downed their cameras to transmit the images, but I chose to move slightly up the track to where no one else was waiting. Once the newly-crowned ‘Worlds Fastest Man’ completed his victory lap, he happened to pause right in front of me, removed his golden running shoes, turned his head to the the side and kissed them. The combination of the sweat streaming down his face, with the custom-embroidered ‘100m Beijing’ visible on the side of the shoe, completes this image of such an iconic Olympic moment.” – @ryanpierse | August 16, 2008 | #GettySport #RoadtoRio #Rio2016 ##⚡️## ⬇️ Click the link in our bio for more stunning Olympic moments…

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Athens, 2004: Game of shadows #50Days50Moments “I took this image during the Men’s #swimming 200m #freestyle heats in the 2004 Summer #Olympics in #Athens. Australia’s Ian Thorpe and the Netherlands’ Pieter van den Hoogenband were massive rivals and happened to be positioned right next to each other in lanes four and five. So there was an incredible tension which you could really feel in the venue and I’m happy I managed to #capture it. Truthfully, I was a bit nervous to do a #slowpan of the start since it’s a pretty low percentage shot. But I ended up making a great graphic #picture, with a real sharpness in the frame and dramatic #shapes and #shadows that make you want to look twice.” —@adampretty August 15, 2004 | #GettySport #RoadToRio #Rio2016

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Beijing, 2008: “For every victory there has to be a defeat.” #50Days50Moments “I took this shot of Moldova’s Victor Covalenco during the 2008 Summer #Olympics in #Beijing. A handful of us were allowed to go up to the roof of the #BirdsNest stadium, which gave us some great angles to shoot all the action. I’ve covered the #Decathalon at previous Summer Games, so I had an idea of where to position myself. While decathletes are good at all their events, they’re not always great in every event. In this case, it was the #LongJump final, and I was sure there’d be an interesting landing or two. That’s why I scouted out the roof for the position I wanted. But that was an ordeal in itself. To get there, I was strapped to a climber’s harness and all my equipment had to be strapped around my neck – imagine a camera lens falling on someone from that height and you soon understand why! Experience helps for sure, and putting yourself in the right place at the right time can help you make your own luck. Once I’d gotten in place, it was perfect. I just had to wait. And then it happened; Victor had a nasty landing. He’d put so much work and training in for this one moment, so when it went wrong I felt incredibly bad for him. You could feel his disappointment. But it’s also the reason the picture works so well; it captures the #emotion of the moment and makes you look at it twice. — @albelo55 #GettySport #Rio2016 #RoadtoRio ⬇️ Click the link in our bio for more stunning Olympic moments…

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London, 2012: Exhaustion from above. #50Days50Moments “I was shooting the 2012 Olympic #judo competition for eight hours at the London ExCeL venue. The robotic #camera I was working with had been set up for the wrestling events, but we were also using it to capture the judo competitions. The robotic cameras are great, as we get in places that we couldn’t have before with a static camera – and we can get it positioned precisely where we need it to be, whilst changing the angle as we shoot. One of the challenges working with a robotic is you have to pre-determine what type of picture you want and where the athletes will come into frame. On Sunday, I watched the Japanese and Polish judo players battle it out. The Japanese judo player, Masashi Ebinuma, pushed the Polish competitor, Pawel Zagrodnik, out of the yellow circle to win the match. It was an intense competition and they  both laid down in exhaustion after the match, having given their all. I was moving the robotic head of the camera as the action unfolded and captured this powerful image. In many of the venues there aren’t catwalks, so to be able to capture this type of unique content is really exciting.” | July 29, 2012 | : Ian Walton @ukphotobooth | #GettySport #Olympics #RoadToRio #Rio2016

 

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Los Angeles, 1984: The fall heard ’round the world #50Days50Moments USA’s #MaryDecker writhes in pain on the side of the track after colliding with South Africa’s #ZolaBudd during the women’s #3000m final. Decker, a two-time world champion and #GoldMedal favorite, was seeking her first #Olympic medal, having missed the 1976 and 1980 games due to injury and the U.S. boycott. But halfway through the race, Decker got tangled up in Budd’s foot, falling to the ground in agony. With a torn hip muscle – and her Olympic dreams dashed – Decker is given medical treatment on the infield with tears streaming down her face. As boos reigned down from the enormous #LAColliseum crowd, the visibly distraught Budd pulled up, ultimately finishing in seventh place. The collision created a world-wide controversy and instantly became one of the most famous moments in #Olympics history | August, 1984 | : Bettmann | #CountdownToRio #Rio2016 #RoadToRio #TeamUSA #Running # A photo posted by Getty Images Sport (@gettysport) on

No shoes? No problem. #50Days50Moments Rome, 1960: #AbebeBikila, a relatively unknown distance #runner from #Ethiopia, pulls away from Morocco’s Abdesselem Rhadi down the stretch to win the Olympic #marathon in a then-record time of 2 hours 15 minutes 16 seconds. It was a monumental #victory, as Bikila became the first-ever East African to win an #Olympic medal. Oh, and he did it without shoes. According to history, Bikila was late in arriving to get his shoes from the official sponsor Adidas and none of the remaining pairs were a good fit. So, he decided to do what he had done in countless training runs – he went barefoot | September, 1960 | Central Press | #GettySport #RoadToRio #CountdownToRio #Rio2016 #Olympics # # A photo posted by Getty Images Sport (@gettysport) on

When you inspire the world, one stroke at a time… #50Days50Moments Sydney, 2000: Only months after taking up the sport, #swimmer Eric Moussambani of #EquitorialGuinea – nicknamed ‘#EricTheEel’ competes in the 100-meter #freestyle qualifier at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre. Moussambani entered the Sydney #Olympics as a wildcard for athletes from developing countries. With little training, #swimming for the first time in an Olympics-sized pool in front of thousands of spectators, finished in 1min 52.72 seconds and failed to qualify. But he succeeded in captivating and inspiring fans all over the world. | September 19, 2000 | : Mike Powell / Allsport | #CountdownToRio #GettySport #Rio2016 #RoadToRio ##   A photo posted by Getty Images Sport (@gettysport) on