They Might Look Alarming, But They’re The Most Perfectly Timed Photos In Sports

Sports can be completely unpredictable. For instance, one moment, a tennis player will be hitting a serve, and the next, they’re doing a split mid-air while hitting the ball between their legs.

Thankfully, photographers are quick and have captured some of these perfectly timed sports moments on film. So, keep scrolling because some of these instances almost looked staged.

Gymnast Or Pretzel?

2021 China National Gymnastics Championship & Tokyo Olympic Trials - Day 6
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

It’s no secret that gymnasts are pretty much inhuman. They’re able to defy gravity and do insane tricks that normal people wouldn’t even contemplate doing for fun, let alone in a competition.

The thing is, when a gymnast, such as Zuo Tong, is photographed mid-air, they tend to look a bit more like a pretzel than an actual person. The good news is that once she lands back on planet Earth, she’ll look like a human once again. Well, hopefully.

Taylor Dent Is Either Playing Tennis Or Is Attending A Metal Show

Taylor Dent Is Either Playing Tennis Or At A Metal Show
Jun Sato/WireImage
Jun Sato/WireImage

Interestingly, this particular facial expression isn’t out of the ordinary for former professional tennis player Taylor Dent. Even though he’s in the middle of a set at the Japan Open, playing against Jiri Novak, it looks as though he’s in the middle of a mosh pit at a hardcore metal concert.

He’s got the arm movement, the long sweaty hair, and the facial expression that says he’s about to go all out on the dance floor.

Wandy Peralta Might Have Dislocated His Arm

Wandy Peralta Might Have Dislocated His Arm
Steven Ryan/Getty Images
Steven Ryan/Getty Images

It might look like an optical illusion, but that is actually Yankee pitcher Wandy Peralta’s arm bending at a very strange angle and not falling off or dislocating. How? That is a question for the ages because that arm looks as though it is about to snap, especially considering how fast he’s about to release that ball.

There’s nothing like a nearly dislocated elbow to spice things up on the pitcher’s mound in the middle of a game.

Dustin Brown Might Have Rubber Legs

Dustin Brown Might Have Rubber Legs
Dave Rowland/Getty Images
Dave Rowland/Getty Images

Known for his speed and agility on the tennis court, Dustin Brown proved that his lower half might actually be made out of rubber while playing at the ASB Classic in 2017. It might appear worse than it actually was, but it still doesn’t deter from the fact that looking at Brown’s knee is a bit cringe-worthy.

The fact that he’s able to bend it at that angle while still going for the ball is why he’s the professional.

At This Moment, Charles Pagès Is Probably Rethinking His Career

At This Moment, Charles Page's Probably Rethinking His Career Path
Balazs Gardi/Red Bull via Getty Images
Balazs Gardi/Red Bull via Getty Images

Motocross isn’t a sport to be taken lightly. Many things can go wrong, especially once tricks are thrown into the equation. Here, Charles Pagès does a practice run at the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour that went a bit wrong.

Landing top-heavy on the front wheel, a photographer snapped the moment right before he tumbled over the handlebars of his bike. And this is why people are taught to wear helmets while riding bikes, motorized or other!

Narumi Kurosu Has Had Better Competition Days

Narumi Kurosu Has Had Better Competition Days
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GettyImages
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GettyImages

Either Narumi Kurosu totally lost control of her competition hose, Zafira, during the Modern Pentathlon riding show jumping event, or she’s auditioning for a role in an action movie. Swinging onto a runaway horse while it’s still on the move? Total action star potential.

If the whole jockey thing doesn’t work out for her, Kurosu should definitely look into a career in the entertainment industry; it could be a real game-changer for her!

Tathiana Garbin Seeing Her Life Flash Before Her Eyes

Tathiana Garbin Seeing Her Life Flash Before Her Eyes
JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images
JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Even though she never took her eyes off the ball, Italian tennis player Tathiana Garbin probably saw her life flash before her eyes during this set. It was the French Open in 2004, and Garbin was up against Justine Henin-Hardenne.

While she didn’t wind up winning the tournament, at least people still have something to talk about. Of course, Garbin staring straight at a ball that looks as though it’s about to hit her square in the face probably wasn’t what the professional athlete had in mind.

Gael Monfils Bringing Some Gymnastics To The U.S. Open

Gael Monfils Bringing Some Gymnastics To The U.S. Open
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

During the 2010 U.S. Open, French tennis player Gael Monfils played in the quarterfinals against Novak Djokovic. While he lost, a photographer was lucky enough to capture this amazing moment for all time.

Who needs to win a highly elite tennis tournament when jumping into a mid-air split while hitting a ball between their legs is going to be the talk of the day? Apparently, Monfils just wanted to bring his gymnastics skills to the tennis court.

Diving Into A Mat

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VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images
VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

It takes a very special type of person to want to run with a giant pole, stick it into the ground, and slingshot themselves up and over a high bar. Not only are they totally diving headfirst into a mat, but they’re trusting their body to swivel around in time, so they don’t actually bang their head. Note, exhibit A in this photo.

Valentin Lavillenie’s form looks better suited for a diving board and pool!

Obviously, They Didn’t Look At Each Other’s Elbows

NELA5786.JPG Boston Celtics
Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald
Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

When playing for the NBA, it’s probably difficult to think about anything else while on the court, especially correctly performing high-fives. The thing is, don’t Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown know there is a trick to correctly high-fiving, so a photographer doesn’t capture the moment they smack each other’s wrists?

Guys, just look at one another’s elbows, slap each other’s hand, and bypass this awkward wrist clap thing that’s going on midway through a subbing.

Hooked His Ankles On The Bars For A Little Something Extra

X Games Minneapolis 2019 - Day 1
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Honestly, whoever wound up taking this picture of Rob Adelberg during the Moto X Freestyle competition at the X Games in 2019 should get an award. The shot was taken at the perfect time, showing Adelberg’s epic form and style during his flip.

Not only is he flipping his entire bike around, but he’s also bending his body mid-flight, placing his ankles over the handlebars to give the trick some extra flying-squirrel flair.

Grabbing A Board Between The Legs? Easy…

X Games Minneapolis 2019 - Day 4
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Professional skateboarders have an uncanny knack for making their tricks look ridiculously easy, like any normal person could flip through the air, release and grab their board, and land safely back on the ground like it’s nothing.

Well, it’s something, and that something is pretty hard. But, don’t worry, a photographer captured the moment Tom Schaar decided letting go of his board and grabbing it was too easy. Instead, he decided that grabbing it between his legs was a better option.

Beam Him Up, Scotty, He Has To Get The Ball

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Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Lonnie Chisenhall has some serious jumping skills. Not only is his head well over the railing, but he was probably only moments away from actually catching that homerun ball. Well, people win some, and they lose some, Chisenhall.

And if he didn’t yell, “beam me up, Scotty, when he was jumping into the air, that was a totally missed opportunity, and all Star Trek fans should find him and tell him about his drastic mistake.

Anthony Elanga Knows A Thing Or Two About Flexibility

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Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images
Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images

A photographer captured the moment that Manchester United player Anthony Elanga perfectly controls the ball while under pressure from Leicester City player Timothy Castagne.

The only thing is, Elanga’s definition of control is apparently showing off his ability to be extremely flexible in mid-air. With his hand on his hip in a sassy model-like pose, he almost looks as though he’s posing for a high-fashion magazine spread. Just take away the ball and swap the uniform for Versace!

Just A Casual Piggyback Ride In The Middle Of The Game

Just A Casual Piggy-Back Ride In The Middle Of The Game
Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images
Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images

Cleary, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Axel Tuanzebe forgot they were in the middle of a professional soccer match and not at a Labor Day picnic event competing in a piggyback race. The best part about this photo is that both athletes seem to be totally fine with the ridiculous turn of events.

Iheanacho even lifted his arms to catch the other player’s legs. If that’s not sportsmanship, then the definition of the term needs to be reworked.

Richard Gasquet Isn’t Entirely Sure What To Do With His Hand

Richard Gasquet Isn't Entirely Sure What To Do With His Hand
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Tennis is hard. A very fast, tiny ball is coming toward a person, and they’re expected to swing and hit it back across the net. Honestly, it’s no wonder Richard Gasquet looks so intense and not overly concerned with his left hand.

He looks like he’s either trying to Vogue while playing tennis or just pretending he’s in the Single Ladies music video. Either way, someone needs to advise him what to do with his hand.

To Yell At The Ball Or Not To Yell At The Ball

To Yell At The Ball Or Not To Yell At The Ball
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Kristina Mladenovic is taking the mental game of tennis to a whole new level in this picture. Not only does she have her left hand up in a very strange way, almost as if she’s contemplating reaching out and grabbing the ball instead of hitting it with her racquet.

Obviously, she’s not going to do that, but the fact that she looks as though she’s about to yell at the ball if it doesn’t do her bidding is something she might want to talk to someone about.

The Most Satisfying Picture Ever

The Most Satisfying Picture Ever
Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Adam Pretty/Getty Images

This picture of swimmer Tyler Clary is probably one of the most mesmerizing and satisfying to be captured. Just look at the way the water perfectly envelops him, making it look as though he’s in a weird cocoon.

It looks so soothing and refreshing, and anyone who says they don’t want to jump into a pool directly after looking at this image is either lying to themselves or lives somewhere where a pool isn’t available.

Synchronized Swimming…Enough Said

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Andre Weening/BSR Agency/Getty Images
Andre Weening/BSR Agency/Getty Images

The ironic thing about synchronized swimming is that while the swimmers are showcasing artistic and difficult tricks, they almost look like intense fish out of water who are wrestling with one another.

This photo of Nevena Dimitrijevic and Jelena Kontic, for intense. Why is she lifting her partner out of the water by her head? If the other lady’s face says anything, it’s that she’s not exactly having the best time of her life. And if they don’t win, this move so wasn’t worth it.

When In Doubt, Crawl To The Fight

When In Doubt, Crawl To The Fight
Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images
Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

While it might look strange, this picture makes a whole lot of sense and captures a hockey team’s mentality perfectly. There’s a fight going on against the glass, and while this player is clearly in no condition to join in on the fist throwing, he’s crawling his way towards it anyway.

Honestly, there are most likely more than a few people who would put money down, betting that he’s trash-talking while making his way on all fours to the fight.

Breathing Is Overrated

European Throwing Cup - Day 2
Milan Sabic/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images
Milan Sabic/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

Hey, who would be breathing if they were standing on the track, getting ready to throw a javelin during the finals of the European throwing cup? Answer: clearly not Tatsiana Khaladovich.

This athlete threw biology to the wind and decided breathing would hold her back from doing her absolute best during the competition. Seriously, though, here’s to hoping she let out a huge breath after throwing that pointy stick as far as she was able to.

Catching A Ball While Hitting A Friend Is Tough Work

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Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Don’t worry, folks; Victor Radley is a professional. Jumping into his teammate’s back and missing the ball pitched to him is all part of the process. Well, probably not, but it can’t be easy being a rugby player.

And by the look of his face, Radley agrees with the statement! His face says that right when he hit the bag, he knew something was going to go wrong. Maybe next time.

The Moment Soccer Becomes A Contact Sport

When Players Get Confused About The Sport They're Playing
Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Honestly, the photographer who captured this fantastic moment between competitors did their job right. Nothing says “major headline” more than a non-contact sport turning into a WWE SmackDown match on the field.

Victor Laguardia looks like he’s taking none of Lucas Boyé’s nonsense and pretty much clotheslines him down to the ground. Hopefully, Boyé taught him a lesson in sportsmanship after this little incident because that move is definitely red card material.

Less Swimming, More Drama

The Most Dramatic Expression Ever
Andre Weening/BSR Agency/Getty Images
Andre Weening/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Is Evangelia Platanioti competing in the Solo Technical Final during the LEN European Aquatics Championships Artistic Swimming or participating in a Shakespearean play? The correct answer is B, the play because her intensity is only fit for a Shakespearean drama.

The hands, the eyes, and even the mouth all point to her portraying a tragic character. At least, that’s the only thing that makes sense because this is a lot, even for synchronized swimming.

Benoit Paire Serving The Ball As An Offering

Benoit Paire Serving The Ball As An Offering
Chaz Niell/ Icon Sportswire
Chaz Niell/ Icon Sportswire

This photo is from day two of the 2017 French Open, and it looks as though Benoit Paire is very much over the tournament. So much so, in fact, that he seems to be serving the ball up as an offering to end the match and not serving the ball to start another set.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with calling it quits, especially when fatigue sets in. Seriously, the guy’s eyes are screaming, “I need a week-long nap.”

The Perfect One-Handed Handstand

The Perfect One-Handed Handstand
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

When a majority of the population can’t even stand on a skateboard without freaking out and falling over, Poppy Olsen whips out a solid one-handed handstand on the side of the bowl.

This photo was taken during the Women’s Skateboard Park at the X Games in 2019. At the time, Olsen was only 19 years old. This is not too shabby of a trick for a teenager! Hopefully, she landed it.

One Of The Best Ways To Give Your Mother A Heart Attack

2016 X Games Austin
Rick Kern/WireImage
Rick Kern/WireImage

This photographer really grabbed Rob Adelberg’s daredevil personality in this photo, showing him doing an amazing stunt with his bike. Not to say he’s out of his mind, but who else aside from someone without an ounce of fear in their body would try to pull off this type of stunt?

He’s not even sitting on the bike seat, only holding on with the strength of his ankles. Hopefully, his mother is quite used to his antics.

Becoming One With The Wall

Becoming One With The Wall
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Trent Grisham clearly wanted to get that fly ball. But things took a turn from the worse when he not only missed the catch but ran pretty much shoulder first into the wall.

In fact, he hit that wall so hard that it looks as though he’s about to be absorbed into the green padding. Getting sucked into the wall probably wouldn’t go over too well for the San Diego Padres outfielder.

Airwaves Are The New Wakeboarding Waves

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Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Sasha Siew Hoon looks as though she’s making an entirely new sport. The photographer snapped a photo of her pretty much parallel to the water, making it look as though she’s making the airwaves the actually waves she’s wakeboarding along.

Now for some real talk: hopefully, this picture isn’t snapping the moment right before she belly flops back into the water. With that air she got on the jump, falling back into the water wouldn’t feel too great.

To Beat The Ball, Ding Ning Intimidated The Ball

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VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The fact of the matter is, Ding Ning is a professional ping pong player. So, if she’s intimidating the ball during one set, accepting that it’s going to hit her in the forehead, instead of actually swinging the paddle, who’s to judge?

Clearly, her tactics have allowed her to get this far up in the ranks. The only issue is that her forehead probably sports a solid red welt by the time her matches are over. If that’s the case, a new strategy might be advised.