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The best photos from the Olympics: Vol. 1

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Pardon me laying it on thick here, but photographers do such great work in so many genres. A world without photography is a world without reflection, in my humble opinion. Sports shots can be so inspiring, surprising, confusing, glaring and heart-stopping. The Olympics are as varied and opportunistic as any other sporting event in the world.

So, with the Games officially seven days gone, I couldn't wait any longer. There have been so many great shots already, and so here's a selection of some of the best so far. We'll be putting out three installments of photo essays from now through the end of the Games.

Already considered the shot of the Games and maybe even of the sports year, Gabby Douglas suspends above the beam. (AP)

One of the best traditions of the Olympics: chucking the coxswain into the drink. Mary Whipple is hucked in by her American teammates following their gold medal in the women's eight rowing race. (Getty Images)

Archery. I want to know: does the winner get/want to take home the big bull's-eye sheet/target? (Getty Images)

Jets plume the Britain sky with national colors just prior to the opening ceremony. Snow cone, anyone? (Getty Images)

Nooo my nightmares noooooo. (Getty Images)

This is what it will look like when the universe eventually folds in on itself. (Getty Images)

A rower is up early at Eton Dorney, hours before the competition begins. My favorite shot of this set. (Getty Images)

Cartridges are removed by Ennio Falco (Italy) as he competes in skeet shooting. Sssssmokin' shot. (Getty Images)

Aurelien Kahn of France rides on his horse, Cadizn, who's not ready to make that leap. (AP)

Ding Ning of China says, "COME AT ME, BALL." (Getty Images)

This is some sort of shot, right? A protester is arrested at the Games for obstructive demonstration in opposition to "bloody Islamist regimes" who are represented at the Olympics. (Reuters)

Just a man and his bar and the darkness around. You get the feeling that's how these athletes feel when in the midst of such an intense routine. There is no sound and barely any site outside of the body and apparatus. (Getty Images)

Still reacting to the fact this actually happened and took at least dozens of people/hundreds of man hours. (US Presswire)

Kerri Walsh kicks up some sand after a serve. Thanks to the London weather, this is about all the skin we can ask for in beach volleyball, it seems. (US Presswire)

Volley ballers. Hipster hooper types have now immediately switched their allegiances from handball to volleyball following this shot. Carmelo was spotting shooting the volleyball over the net seconds after this photo, by the way. (US Presswire)

Kayla Harrison, among the most powerful stories -- and athletes -- at this year's Games. (US Presswire)

I'm blaming Roger Waters for this. (AP)

And I think I just found the next American superhero. The United States' Seth Kelsey, suited up for battle. If it's manageable, I also think I just found my Halloween costume for this year. (AP)

Boxing: fixed? You don't say. Now-banned referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov refuses to give a count to Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov, while Japan's Satoshi Shimizu clearly won the bantamweight 56-k fight. (AP)

You can practically hear the water cupping over the lens. Brazil's Ricardo Santos practices before starting the RS:X men class race in Weymouth and Portland, England. (AP)

Britain's Corinna Lawrence reflexively smiles behind her mask as Chile's Caterin Bravo Aranguiz gets bent. (AP)

Jamel Herring, after defeat. The U.S. fighter fell to Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yelessinov in their light-welter 64-kg match. (AP)
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