The story behind that amazing Usain Bolt lightning photo

Dylan Stableford

They say lightning never strikes the same place twice.

But it did on Sunday, when Agence France-Presse photographer Olivier Morin snapped what may become the iconic image of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

Morin's photograph of Bolt just after he crossed the finish line of the 100-meter final at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow — and just as a lightning bolt could be seen above the stadium — was framed so perfectly, it appeared fake.

After an NBC Sports editor tweeted the photo, some Twitter users questioned its authenticity.

Morin told Yahoo News that while getting the threatening sky in the shot was intentional, the lightning was not.

"I didn't see any lightning when I shot the hand camera — only when I opened the pictures on the laptop to edit five minutes after the race," Morin said. "I did not try to get the lightning in the pix. Getting Usain Bolt in the remote frame is difficult enough."

Morin was set up facing the finish line. Fellow "infield" photographers can be seen in the background of his photo running to get in position to snap Bolt's victory lap.

To capture Bolt and the bolt, the 47-year-old Milan-based photographer used five fixed remote cameras fired simultaneously from a hand camera. Two photos with lightning in the background were taken with a remote camera about 30 meters from the finish line.

Bolt won the race in a steady rain, finishing in 9.77 seconds — his slowest time for that distance ever in a major final. American Justin Gatlin finished second, seven-hundredths of a second behind Bolt; fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter finished third.