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Neil Leifer's Iconic 1984 Olympic Images Revisited by Lightbox 

Carl Lewis jumps in front of Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, New York City. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated) With the London Olympics having drawn to a close, we thought it was a perfect time to look back at Neil Leifer's famous spread in Time Magazine's 1984 Olympic games preview edition, in which the photographer traveled to 13 countries over the course of a year in order to photograph some of the world's most famous athletes in front of the iconic symbols of their respective nations. The portfolio was recently revived by Lightbox in anticipation of the London 2012 Olympics and the images were also put on display in a recent exhibition at the Newseum, titled Photo Finish: The Sports Photography of Neil Leifer. Perhaps what makes these images so spectacular today is the fact that Leifer did not artificially alter conditions at any point during the year-long shoot. “It took weeks to set up each shoot,” says Leifer. “And there’s not a single one of these pictures where I use any artificial lighting.” In an age where doctoring images has become the norm, the fact that one man (and assistant Anthony Suarez) persevered to get the perfect shot at each location is truly awe-inspiring. The portfolio captured the imagination of the world upon its publication, expressing the true essence of Olympic competition through its grand symbolism and harmony with nature. Read more here:              

Koji Gushiken on rings in front of Mount Fuji, Japan. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Sophia Sakorafa poses with javelin in front of The Parthenon at The Acropolis in Athens. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

The Indian field hockey team poses in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Weightlifter Viktor Mosibit poses in front of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Kenya marathon runners Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Charles Cheruiyot run next to giraffes in Nanyuki, Kenya. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Mary Decker poses in front of Mount Rushmore in Keystone, S.D. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Mohamed Naguib Hamed poses with discus in front of the Pyramid of Khufu and the Great Sphinx in Giza, Egypt. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Photographer Neil Leifer (right) poses with Fidel Castro and Cuban heavyweight boxer Teofilo Stevenson while on assignment in Havana. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

South Korean Jin-Ho Kim poses with bow and arrow in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Gymnast Zhou Qiurui on the Great Wall of China. Shanhaiguan, China. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Heavyweight boxer Francesco Damiani in front of the Colosseum in Rome. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Fidel Castro poses with the Cuban women's basketball team in Havana. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Kristin Otto poses in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in East Berlin. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

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