As we release our Year in Focus e-book highlighting the best photography from 2014, we ask our experts across the business for their personal selection from the year.

Sports Assignment Editor Martin Willets and Sports Picture Editor John Childs have each picked five standout sporting moments from 2014, taken by our European photographers, and shared with us the reason behind their choices:

 

Sports Assignment Editor Martin Willets

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I love the raw emotion captured in this picture as the final whistle blows, and we see what it means to win the UEFA Champions League. Also nice is the contrast. As the two players both look to the sky in celebration, one (Cristiano Ronaldo) is screaming in joy while the other (Angel De Maria) is having a moment of quite reflection.


 

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This is a fantastic ‘key moment’ image. It shows the actual incident where the gold medal favorite for the event, Shaun White lands badly during his run and completely ends any chance he has for a medal. It sums up the small margins of error that elite athletics have despite training full time for years. The chance of a gold medal can be over in a split second.


 

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Again this is a fantastic picture of a ‘key moment’ and is testament to the great positions our photographers have, as well as the skill required to get an image of a crash at over 100mph. This image stands out for many reasons, but the broken tyres and spray of the gravel add to the drama.


 

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This image rewards the unseen hard work photographers put in before an event even begins. The spot where this image was taken was scouted out by photographer Gareth many weeks before the cyclists came to town. He drove the route to find a location where he would be able to get an image that summed up how this scenic Yorkshire village would become a backdrop to the biggest cycling race in the world. Of course, it is one thing to find the location but you also need the ability to capture the image as the event happens.


 

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Whilst not being the most dramatic image of the year, this one has a good back story. It shows Jo Pavey after she won gold in the 10,000m at the European Championships in Zurich. This is the first senior gold medal of her 17-year career at the age of 40 years old and ten months after giving birth to her second child.


 

Sports Picture Editor John Childs

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I love this picture for quite a few different reasons. Firstly, the colors in the image immediately strike you. The fact that the image is original – as opposed to the clichéd silhouette of a boy on the Copacabana during the lead-up to the World Cup in Brazil this year. And lastly, the fact that the photographer went out off his own back to find a unique picture that would be different to what other photographers were capturing.


 

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This is such an intriguing picture; your eyes go everywhere when looking at this image. The color, the reflections, the splashes … It’s the sort of picture that makes you look time and time again and even when you have, you’re still not exactly sure who’s who and what’s what!


 

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Everyone will remember 2014 for the World Cup in Brazil and let’s face it, everyone remembers the winners. In this picture of the German players celebrating, I love the symmetry, the background and even as small as it is, the tiny, but still prominent, World Cup Trophy in the foreground. The same way we all remember the image of Bobby Moore and the England players celebrating with the World Cup Trophy in 1966, I have a feeling this image will become as iconic in the years to come.


 

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I’ve always believed a great photographer makes their own luck… The fact that the champagne spray curves perfectly around the rim of the cap in the background picture plus the fact that the picture happens to be of Rory McIlroy, makes it a great picture in my opinion.


 

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Caption: Dwayne Bravo of the West Indies catches James Faulkner of Australia off the bowling of Krishmar Santokie during the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 match between the West indies and Australia at Sher-e-Bangla Mirpur Stadium on March 28, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A great picture captures the exact moment of the incident and a catch in cricket, particularly in the deep, is never an easy picture. This is because the ball has invariably left the bat at a rate of knots – and until it leaves the bat, no one knows exactly which direction it will be heading. A photographer needs lightning-fast reactions and pure skill to get a picture like this.


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