I am writing "how to" tutorial for this type of shots. It should be ready by the end of the week. I will post a link here.
You are 100% correct. It wasn't easy to get into that position. I was approx 1 meter away from Kristian as he ran on his vault jump.
I wasn't worried about me, but I was worried that me being so close could affect concentration of the gymnast. But, I cleared that with his coach, and I was ready to go.
There were other constraints during the shot. I am writing a blog post covering them all.
BTW, amazing gymnast on the photo is Kristian Thomas who has won bronze medal with Great Britain team on London Olympics few days ago.
Unfortunately, he made a mistake at the end of his vault yesterday and that cost him individual gymnastics all-around bronze medal. He finished 7th, but if his vault was on par with the one from couple of days ago, he would be 3rd.
Amazing athlete and amazing person.
His short interview on BBC:http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19088102
This was done while testing new Olympus OM-D E-M5 and its 9fps. It was literary the second day I got it. :-)
I will write a blog post with detailed "how to" in the next couple of days and post a link to it.