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Beijing Winter Olympics 2022: Jakara Anthony gold | Women’s moguls, freestyle skiing | Getty Images

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Jakara Anthony’s cork 720 mute, the childlike happiness with which she held the national flag aloft and her acceptance of gold on the podium will always stand as the most iconic moments of Australia’s first Winter Olympic triumph in 12 years.

But one incredible moment that went largely unnoticed came when she’d just reached the top step of the podium for the flower ceremony.

The 23-year-old from Cairns in Queensland’s far north settled on the top step, dropped her arms by her side, looked up, closed her eyes and took a moment to process the heroics.

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Getty Images photographer Cameron Spencer had never captured an Australian win gold at a Winter Olympics, but his moment came after Anthony’s spellbinding run in the women’s moguls at the Beijing Games.

He said his image of Anthony taking a brief moment to register what she’d done would resonate in his memory forever.

“As a photographer you want to capture either great action moments or emotion. When someone does win a gold, or even dejection when someone loses, it’s about story-telling those moments,” Spencer tells Wide World of Sports.

“I got a nice picture of Jakara on the podium.

“When she stood up she had her arms by her side and closed her eyes and looked up. And it was just this really nice moment that was before she had her arms in the air and she had the Aussie flag.

“Often it’s those moments around the smile where you can sense she had just processed what had just happened.

“It’s photos like that that I love to look back on, not just the obvious holding up the medal or the flag.”

Only a week before snapping Anthony in minus-20 degrees, Spencer was at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open shooting in temperatures that soared above 30 degrees.

Covering a Winter Olympics on the snow is so cold that Spencer has electric socks with Bluetooth heating.

While he admits he doesn’t feel the warmth of the heating, he says his feet don’t freeze.

“So, they must be doing something,” he says with a laugh.

“That’s a game-changer.”

Spencer says the toughest challenge is finding ways to operate his cameras with hands that have seized up.

But it was in those punishing conditions that he photographed a moment that, in his words, would “go down in history in Australian sport”.

The Sydney photographer said there was something about Anthony’s gold-medal breakthrough that was unique to the many other Olympic victories he had covered.

“It was an interesting finish because she seemed so relaxed when she crossed the line,” Spencer says.

“She was so together and composed. I’ve seen so many athletes lose it when they’ve crossed the line. Her celebration was even reserved … She threw an arm up, a bit of a smile. There wasn’t too much emotion.

“But she had the biggest smile you’d ever seen and you knew she’d nailed it.

“I was basically two metres from her when she saw the results, which was pretty exciting.

“The level of maturity Jakara showed was what struck me.

“It was pretty awesome to be there.”

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