Martin Schoeller’s Intriguing Shots of US Olympic Athletes

Whether he’s shooting portraits of female bodybuilders or extreme close-ups of famous celebrities, German photographer Martin Schoeller always captures the stark reality of his subjects in his work. It’s a lovely thing, and a talent that was put to good use in his recent photos for TIME Magazine, Women’s Health, and ESPN Magazine. Training his lens on several of the American athletes headed to London for the 2012 Olympic Games (as well as Oksana Masters, who will be rowing in the Paralympic games in late August), Schoeller gives the viewer an intimate glimpse at the person behind the fierce competitor. Gymnast Gabby Douglas performs an effortless split against her family’s refrigerator; track and field athlete Lolo Jones is caught in a rare moment of robed repose; swimmer Ryan Lochte embraces his inner poster boy, adjusting his goggles as beads of water drip from his body. Click through for a slideshow of some of our favorite shots, and be sure to check out the 2012 Olympics special issue of TIME, on stands now.

Gabby Douglas for TIME. Photo credit: Martin Schoeller, courtesy of Vh-Artists