Marco Tribelhorn, the art of skiing and the art for skiin

Mountains are inspiring muses, explains this Swiss filmmaker selected by the ONA Film Festival

“I’m a skier. Note well: I don’t say I’m a person who skis, but a skier. The concept is very different, it says everything about my approach to this art form. Skiing allows me to have a personal form of expression, to show how much joy and love I get from outdoor experiences, to follow a long family tradition. Thanks to skiing I can absorb the energy of the mountains: I can feel that I’m painting on a blank canvas and, at the same time, take something from this unique world and then bringing it into the normal, everyday world…”

Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Self Portrait by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Right Portrait by ©Gaudenz Danuser

When Marco Tribelhorn talks about skiing and mountains, he lights up in a laugh that tastes of passion, veneration, and symbiosis. Born and raised among the Swiss peaks, this skier-filmmaker-musician sees verticality as his muse: a thematic and philosophical fulcrum from which his versatile productions radiate. Productions such as “Next Stop Sneg,” the short film that will be screened at the ONA Short Film Festival.

“This film is a passion project. It all stems from the opportunity to go to Siberia, to an unknown place that for me represents a kind of eldorado. In 2019 I was invited for a ski trip to this remote area between Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia: in the middle of nowhere I experienced the best snow ever, and the whole adventure was made unique by the hospitality of some Russian friends-riders like Kostya San and Grigory Korneev. I didn’t have any filming equipment (only one analog photo camera) with me at the time, so I decided to go back to those mountains a couple of years later and recreate the impression of amazement that I had felt experiencing that spot”

Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn

Even pressed, Marco avoids giving specifics about this ski paradise, remaining faithful to a promised land dispersed in time and space, to an unspoiled legendary place. The creative Swiss tells us about his respect for a fantastic and surreal setting, recounting the hours spent between trains, late-night waits and long hikes: an itinerary in which disbelief, unknowns and desires intertwine and then explode into orgasmic freeride sessions.

“I literally didn’t know where I was, I had no phone line or geographical references. The locals try to keep this place secret, and I deeply respect that desire. Within the film I tried to narrate all these themes in an abstract way. I did not want to create a popular production, but a purely artistic one. I wanted to be honest with my work, to communicate my feelings without making them artificial or corrupting them. I always like to look for alternative ways, both in terms of my sources of inspiration and my artistic creations. I try to follow this philosophy even when I work on commission with professional skiers: after all, it’s about celebrating the love of this sport that, in my opinion, is much more than a sport…”

Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn

Besides celebrating skiing, Marco’s artistic will is encapsulated in a simple statement: “capturing the beauty of life through sounds and visions.” A vision that he pursues on the one hand with the notes of his own guitar, and on the other with visual galleries that sublimate the natural element and its contact with man: a narrative strand that also distinguishes the Venetian festival that will feature him between Sept. 8 and 10.

“Growing up in Switzerland was a gift; it allowed me to cultivate various passions. And their combination is my strength. There is a force that drives me to create things. The important thing is that each creation comes from the heart, and the observer or listener must be able to understand that. “Next Stop Sneg” is a tangible example of this desire. No one supported or funded this project, then the war came and anything related to Russia became taboo. Thanks to the ONA Film Festival I finally have the opportunity to share and show this movie, this art form. This makes me happy and makes me realize that despite everything, it was worth it.”

Video by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn
Photo by ©Marco Tribelhorn

Credits: Marco Tribelhorn
@troublehaus
Text by Gianmarco Pacione


Chris Eyre-Walker and adventure as a personal quest

The renowned Belgian photographer and filmmaker talks to us about nature, sports and the evolution of his artistic philosophy

“I was lucky, I grew up in a small town in the eastern part of Belgium, in Saint Vicht, in the middle of nowhere. With my friends I used to build tree houses. My parents always loved to travel, they always put experience first. Every year we went to exotic places, as a child I went to Cuba, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, several times to Africa…. This combination lit a spark in me, helped me become a photographer and filmmaker”

Chris Eyre-Walker’s multimedia production is an endless adventure. This Belgian visual artist, featured within the upcoming ONA Film Festival, traces itineraries in the most striking places on our planet with his productions. He paints them with a lens that, over time, has decided to accompany nature to sport, aesthetics to documentary research, evolving a quest that for Chris began at age 18 in his country’s army.

“My father always used to carry a camera with him. When I was young, I wasn’t too artistic. Then I joined the Belgian army and started to develop this passion. With my first paychecks I bought a camera, put it in manual mode and started shooting on weekends. I always liked to challenge myself. I think it depends on my sports background. I was a javelin thrower until the beginning of my military career. I was number 3 in the nation. Sports gave me the competitiveness, the constant desire to push my limits. I love documenting people who are good at sports that combine nature and physical exertion…. And I love challenging myself to portray these athletes”

Nothing is too difficult, nothing is too dangerous. Chris explains that his time in a special unit taught him this and much more, such as mental strength. Characteristics that, once out of the army, the little more than 20-year-old Belgian photographer pours into his art, beginning to travel the world and settling in the home of surfing, Australia. A place where Chris shaped his own poetics, based on the contrast and balance between landscape, light and human presence.

“I traveled the world for a year with a friend of mine, combining photography and adventure. Then I went to Australia and stayed there for six years. It was like having a blank canvas to paint on. In order to earn money initially I worked for a photography studio, in the mornings and evenings I would go to the beach and shoot waves and surfers. I also got a chance to intern with Chris Burkard, one of my photographic reference points, a pioneer in unconventional surf portraiture. Then I went back to traveling, this time for work. I had clients in pretty much every part of the globe, and my rhythms began to be unsustainable…. At least until the pandemic, when overnight everything changed”

The film that will be shown on the screen on San Servolo Island in Venice is about this transition. ‘A Note to Self’ is an inner and outer journey in the last chapter of this creative’s life: a personal evolution, a maturation of artistic awareness and consciousness. Work isn’t everything, Chris wants to tell us with this movie. Photography isn’t everything, or rather, it’s only a part of it: an art that becomes incidental if you don’t really discover and create connections with its protagonists, with the elements and human beings that populate it, with the feelings that surround it.

“At some point as a travel photographer and filmmaker I felt guilty. Guilty because I was not creating a real connection with what was around me, with what ended up in my works. I didn’t have the desire or the maturity to narrate a story. Just a beautiful place. This film is a kind of reminder to myself: sometimes it’s okay not to use the camera and enjoy the moment, sometimes it’s okay to lose a good light to talk to a person, to find out where you are. I don’t want to portray meaningless things anymore. The pandemic stopped a totalizing flow, which had made me forget why I started doing this job in the first place, and allowed me to realize that you don’t have to jump from adventure to adventure in order to enjoy life: good things after all also happen at home, next door to you. For example, I discovered that near my village there are trees that are believed to be among the oldest in Belgium. Fascination can arise even five minutes away from where you live”

Credits: Chris Eyer Walker
IG @chriseyrewalker
Text by Gianmarco Pacione


Parkour and the architecture of human flight

In Bulgaria, Fabien Scotti’s camera combines flying bodies and Soviet brutalism

You can explore typical Soviet architectural brutalism through an urban sports art, the art of parkour. Fabien Scotti shows us how, creating through his own lens an interaction between the Bulgarian metropolitan landscape and the floating bodies of young human birds.

The dialogue between aerial evolutions, concrete, and gravity reaches a new dimension both in this visual reportage and in the words of Kristiyan Valev, a local athlete who recounts his own point of view regarding the connection between popular projects, abandoned buildings and the imagery of any parkour artist.

“I was into PC gaming and anime from a young age and when I discovered Parkour, it felt the same way, but in real life. When I’m practicing outside of the gym, the main thing I’m looking for is unique urban places. I like architecture a lot, so if I find a place interesting, I will always try to do something with my movement there. I like being creative, whether that’s visual art, music production, or parkour, I feel like the mindset is the same. You have a blank canvas and some paint, so you just need to try painting something. It’s very interesting with architecture because parkour gives you a unique view where you’re constantly looking for spots and notice a lot more details around the structure of a building. For me, this sparked an interest in architecture that went beyond Parkour. I think the surrounding architecture plays a big part in forming the style of movement for any Parkour athlete. Growing up in a small town, there weren’t really any obvious Parkour spots, so I was able to focus more on creativity and flow. We had a lot of abandoned communist-era buildings in the industrial part of the city and I often went exploring them with my friends. I remember it feeling like a post-apocalyptic movie and I believe that influenced my vision for Parkour a lot”

Fabien Scotti

IG @fabienscotti
fabienscotti.com

Athletes:

Kristiyan Valev
IG @kristiyan59

Yasen Apostolov
IG @aptricks

Kiril Trifonov
IG @kiril_handstands

Miro Goshev
IG @mirogoshev


MECCA, where basketball became contemporary art

In 1977 Robert Indiana painted his own Sistine Chapel on the Milwaukee Bucks’ hardwood floor, creating a legendary court

1968 is a year known for its radical social changes. Revolutionary winds blow strong around the world and even the National Basketball Association seems ready for a new dawn, welcoming two new teams: the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks. Surrounded by nature, embraced by Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, Wisconsin has never been considered a basketball state. The dynamism of basketball seems to be too different from the peace of Milwaukee.

The first season is far from being exciting: the Bucks finish with one of the worst records in the NBA, with barely twenty wins. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is selected the next draft and alongside Oscar Robertson starts to form one of the most dominant pairs in the league. After only three years, the first NBA title comes: but is still not enough to be considered one of the powerhouses of American basketball. The franchise is young, it’s winning, it attracts thousands of spectators, but something is missed. Ownership is determined to send a strong signal, the Bucks must be on everyone’s lips and must become a true brand.

They decide that their home, their arena, their hardwood floor should identify their will. The project is entrusted to Robert Indiana, one of the leading exponents of New York Pop Art, famous for his sculptural poems ‘HUG’, ‘EAT’ and ‘LOVE’. Indiana, whose name refers to the craddle of U.S. basketball, accepts the commission but wants everything kept under wraps until the work is completed.

The investment, financed largely by public money, is just huge. The halo of mystery surrounding the final result combined with a very long wait starts to fuel discontent throughout the city. Some journalists are not convinced about it, declaring “with all that money we could have repainted the Sistine Chapel”. In 1977 Indiana finishes what is still considered the world’s greatest Pop Art work: an entire arena that becomes a true masterpiece. An artistic-basketball installation that can be actively enjoyed by thousands of people. The hardwood, painted entirely by Robert Indiana’s hands, is yellow, with two mirrored M’s made of lighter wood. The two areas, like the circle in the middle of the court, are red. In the center we find also the MECCA lettering, an acronym for the new Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena.

The court factor is surprising: The Bucks hit the playoffs every season, always surpassing fifty wins and reaching the finals three times. They’re defeated only by Julius Erving’s Lakers and Larry Bird’s Celtics. Marquette University is also driven by MECCA’s incredible energy and manages to shape a sensational season in 1977, winning the only NCAA title in its history.

MECCA’s maintenance costs, however, are extremely high and have a too heavy impact on the Wisconsin franchise’s financial report. In addition, the Bradley Center project is beginning to take shape. The change of facility seems to create a curse, and the team fails to qualify for the final round of the season for seven consecutive seasons. The hardwood designed by Robert Indiana is disassembled and put up for sale. But no one seems to be interested in giving new life to “the floor that made Milwaukee famous,” which thus ends up in oblivion.

In 2010, Andy Gorzalski – a Bucks fan since birth – came across an ad that was peculiar. The item is described as a simple ‘gym floor,’ but for those who have tied their sporting childhoods to the Milwaukee franchise it’s easy to understand the uniqueness of that floor. The price, $20,000, seems unaffordable, but Andy goes into debt and buys the Indiana’s work. Shortly after the purchase, Gorzalski comes into contact with the Koller family, owners of a famous sports hardwood company that has always been linked to the Bucks, and in 2017, fifty years after its unveiling, the Koller family’s ProStar Surfaces realises a perfect replica of the MECCA, attracting the attention of the media and especially the fans, who thanks to that floor are able to go back in time.

“In life, in sports… It is always important to celebrate your heritage. Milwaukee to me was an unbelievable place to play”

The importance of remembering history is a fundamental action in sports and in life, as remind the Charles Barkley’s words, who with his Sixers walked the MECCA wood several times. In 2018, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to further celebrate Robert Indiana’s MECCA by making ‘city edition’ kits inspired by the colours used by the artist. Despite the efforts of Andy and the Koller family, MECCA’s iconic floor has yet to find a buyer who can enhance it and give it new life. It’s still preserved as a true relic in a specialized warehouse, waiting for someone or some place, maybe a museum.

Video Youtube
Text by Filippo Vianello


Sébastien Vincent’s sports bestiary

Animals that populate stadiums and the study of technical gestures, we discover the imagination of this French photographer

What can the visual imagination reach? It can reach naturalistic dystopia, Sébastien Vincent’s shots explain to us, it can combine the concept of medieval bestiary with that of modern sports architecture, creating unreasonably plausible compositions. In front of this French photographer’s elaborate shots, each viewer is overwhelmed by an incongruent array of visual informations, ends up reaching a place in his own subconscious scattered between bewilderment and fascination, disbelief and pondering.

“I have been following this photographic strand for almost ten years now. I’ve always loved mixing different themes and scenarios, I’ve always had the inclination to try different and unusual solutions: when the shot is too easy I want to add extra difficulty to it. The genesis of this series came when I was very focused on fashion photography. I was surrounded every day by professionals of all kinds: stylists, models, make-up artists and many others, yet I felt that I was missing something. I had an epiphany seeing a photo of an animal in a city setting and I said to myself, okay, maybe I should try this. So I went to the zoo, shot for a while and started imagining, structuring these works. I set the first series in an un-touristy Paris, overlooked by the Les Olympiades buildings, I wanted a setting far from the masses of the Eiffel Tower and Champs Élysées…”

Sébastien soon finds a way to transpose this new graphic trend to the Ville Lumiere’s two most celebrated sports institutions, Roland Garros and Paris Saint Germain. Between the world’s best-known red clay courts and the elegant Parc des Princes, this creative with a degree in economics and an illustrious path at the renowned école de l’image Gobelins manages to unleash all the evocative and communicative power of his scenic inventions, bringing to life an evocative sports-animal-architectural mixture.

“I had the opportunity to get in touch with Roland Garros and PSG through some mutual friendships and contacts. When I proposed the idea of portraying animals, the first reaction was to ask if I would take them physically inside the stadiums…. Fortunately, they quickly realized that bears and tigers would not enter the field! In these huge spaces – think, for example, of the 60,000 empty seats in the Parc des Princes – I wondered what animals might frequent certain areas, what their specific behaviors and movements would be… On the lawn, on the door, in the stands: I had to imagine a new life within these ‘sets’. Those shots also allowed me to process deeper reflections related to the relationship between humans and animals, between building progress and the removal of nature: thoughts that literally exploded during the lockdown period, when my photos in some cases became reality”

Sébastien’s photographic-sports production is not limited, however, to this imaginative reworking of reality. His trained sports enthusiast’s eye over time has also managed to investigate the art of the technical gesture, breaking it down as some predecessors of the early 20th century lens used to do. Today, sports-themed works remain a substantial part of the Frenchman’s photographic efforts, who between Disney shoots and fashion features always manages to carve out time to investigate the sporting act, its imagery and its possible derivations.

“The photographic sports narrative has always interested me. When I photograph a sporting event or an athlete I always look for different perspectives than the canonical ones. With tennis players, for example, I tried to modernize Harold Edgerton’s visual quest. I decided to take 20 shots per second of Nadal and Djokovic, then overlaid them to get a visual definition of their hit with the ball. I think all sports are interesting and each has aesthetic potential. In the near future I would like to focus on golf again – I had done it several times before, portraying the hot atmosphere of the Ryder Cup. Then, in 2024, I will have the chance to enjoy an Olympics at home; I’m sure it will be an event that will inspire and tickle both my camera and my imagination”

Credits: Sebastién Vincent
IG @sebastien_vincent_
sebastienvincent.com
Text by Gianmarco Pacione


Jim Herrington, between photographs and human beings

An interview with the lens legend who combines climbing, music, and deep personal storytelling

“How did I become a photographer? In the 1960s I was a child in a small town in North Carolina. There was no technology back then. My father collected old Life magazines, from the 1930s and 1940s. I would look at these huge black-and-white photos that narrated a fantastic world – a world that didn’t exist around me. I remember shots from the North Pole, from Rome and Paris, portraits of Brigitte Bardot…. As time went on, I realized that those pictures were being taken by someone. And that someone had the most fantastic job in the world” 

In order to immerse yourself in Jim Herrington’s magmatic photographic production, you have to think of a multidimensional space, where every image becomes the visual mouth of a long series of artistic and human tributaries. It’s the will to tell a story, to represent it in its entirety through a single moment, a single expression.

Mark Powell by ©Jim Herrington
Minoru Higeta by ©Jim Herrington
Tom Frost by ©Jim Herrington

A philosophy unleashed in two of Herrington’s main narrative strands: the one related to music and the one connected to mountains, to its main protagonists, the pioneers of twentieth-century mountaineering. Figures who turn out to be as mythical as they are evanescent, destined to be lost in the flow of time: a fate that Herrington wished to avoid thanks to an intense documentary work that flowed into his magnum opus, ‘The Climbers’ book.

“Somewhere along the way, I realized that storytelling was fundamental to my work. It was something within me, in my roots. I’ve always loved stories, I remember having a mantra at dinner with my family: if you don’t have something interesting to say, make something up. I photographed legendary musicians for decades, some of these people had been forgotten…. The same was true for so many climbers who had radically revolutionized the idea of mountain exploration between 1920 and 1970. I have always thought that there were enormous similarities between these two categories of human beings: I’m referring to the desire for progress, for overcoming limits, for independence, for a free lifestyle untethered from economic logic”

wen Moffat by ©Jim Herrington
Hamish Mac Innes by ©Jim Herrington
Joe Brown by ©Jim Herrington
Pat Ament by ©Jim Herrington

From Benny Goodman’s clarinet to Riccardo Cassin’s equipment, from Willie Nelson’s guitar to Reinhold Messner’s courage, from the futuristic notes of the Rolling Stones to the first, historic woman on Everest, Junko Tabei. Herrington’s photographs are constant evidence of an inexhaustible interest in life, in the personal experience that, despite its exceptionality, becomes a paradigm of a collective condition, a collective passion.

Riccardo Cassin by ©Jim Herrington
Reinhold Messner by ©Jim Herrington
Junko Tabei by ©Jim Herrington

Herrington brings with him an infinite treasure of outdoor notions and adventures – a knowledge accrued in 59 years almost entirely devoted to the sensitive study of the human and natural elements.

“Mountains play a big role in my life and artistic career. I grew up hiking in the Appalachians, on this  range that two million years ago reached the same height as the Himalayas. At the beginning of my journey, I used to travel with nothing: there was no connection, you could get lost, but you always discovered something new. Today everything is different, everything has become digitized. And this process has downsides, it seems obvious to me, but also many upsides. It may seem ironic, but thanks to Instagram, for example, I’ve trained my writing abilities for ‘The Climbers.’ Whenever I compose the caption of my photos on this social, I feel like a 1960s pop song writer who has to shape short, incisive lyrics”

Fred Beckey by ©Jim Herrington
Armando Aste by ©Jim Herrington
Pierre Mazeaud by ©Jim Herrington
David Brower by ©Jim Herrington

Herrington’s learning ride has no intention of stopping even during his artistic maturity and still allows this photography legend to inspire and be inspired, to process and rework an archive of images limitless in form and quantity.

“I love documentaries, photojournalism/street photography…. The giants of the past that I’ve most admired are people like Jacques Henri Lartigue and Robert Frank. I like the idea of a personal journalism. People usually know of me for my  portraiture, but I am also a big fan of landscape photography. I particularly admire the midcentury Japanese visual school, where landscapes are treated abstractly. Looking back, if I had to choose one shot that typifies my career, I would say the Cormac McCarthy portrait: a dark, reclusive writer whom I photographed in the middle of the desert with a light that, in my opinion, imprints and brings out so many nuances of his literary output. Now I feel time passing and on the one hand I’m aware that I should work on my past production, adjusting and rearranging it, but I also feel that I want to continue photographing and experimenting. And this is a feeling that I cannot ignore”

 

Thanks to ONA Short Film Festival for this article.

The Black Keys by ©Jim Herrington
Ian Mc Kellen by ©Jim Herrington
Morgan Freeman by ©Jim Herrington
Dolly Parton by ©Jim Herrington
Cormac Mc Carthy by ©Jim Herrington
Gillian Welch by ©Jim Herrington

Credits: Jim Herrington
IG @jimherrington
Text by Gianmarco Pacione


Mike Powell, 8.95 is forever

Together with Karhu, we met the greatest long jumper in history

There are sporting moments that reflect on the course of history, that redefine the paradigms of physics, that rework human limits, making reality imagination and imagination reality. They are rapid rips in time, instantaneous and unpredictable transitions to new athletic eras, to unexplored worlds.

“Competing against Carl Lewis was not easy, you know?” jokes Mike Powell as he spreads his arms wide and gives an ironic smile to the Ratina Stadium media center in Tampere, “He was a living legend. My only focus was to beat him. And in order to beat him, I knew I’d have to do only one thing: break the world record.”

August 30, 1991, World Athletics Championships in Tokyo, long jump final. The man called ‘Son of the Wind’ gets carried away by an upward and, at the same time, horizontal current. The windy assist is almost 3 meters per second. His body escapes from the sand shortly thereafter, leaving his sign at 8 meters and 91 centimeters. Bob Beamon in the groundbreaking Mexico City ’68 event had stopped an inch earlier, pulverizing Soviet Igor’ Ter-Ovanesjan’s world record and redefining the entire discipline.

“Three days before that final I had my last training session and was asked to sign an autograph. I wrote my name, Mike Powell, followed by ‘1991 World Champion, 8.95.’ At that time my personal best was 8.66 and I didn’t know anything about centimeters, I was always thinking in inches… That number was in my head, though. It had to happen.”

Mike Powell’s body takes over the platform of the National Olympic Stadium. Around the long streak of tartan only an absolute Japanese silence. The 27-year-old from Philadelphia puffs at a regular cadence, seems to fix his gaze on an external dimension, unknown to us, draws the typical three-to-four stage steps introductory to his run-up, then launches himself into an obsessive and elegant rotary motion of legs and arms. Powell cleaves the earth, then the air. Everything stops, including time and wind.

“Athletics is rhythm. The long jump is a dance: you load up, fly, and… Splash. Visualization is key in the seconds before the run-up. I didn’t see myself as a robot, but as an animal, I felt the energy taking over my body, I thought of a cheetah and its speed, its lines: I wanted to move in the same way.”

8.95. It’s an animal dance. It’s a world record destined to last for 30 years, and for who knows how many more. Powell celebrates by running wildly, ideally embracing the entire grandstand populated by streams of people who fail to react, amazed, almost appalled, by an inconceivable athletic gesture. Thanks to that nearly 9-meter glide, Powell has just tasted a revenge he’d been waiting for all his life, has written with his own body something that cannot and will not be erased, has simply declared that he’s the greatest long jumper in sports history.

“That victory was not just about the World Cup. It was about my whole life, about everyone who had not believed in me: the insiders who thought I was too skinny, the girls who had refused to date me… That jump was everything. I was telling the world ‘I’m Here!’ I was and continue to be happy and proud about that achievement. I was able to make sports history, and I’ve always, first and foremost, been an absolute fan of this sport. I am an ‘athletics geek’ and seeing all these people still stopping me to ask for a photo, or even just to congratulate me, makes me emotional.”

Walking alongside Mike Powell would be complex in a normal urban setting; it becomes impossible in a Finnish city populated by track & field enthusiasts. In the World Masters Athletics village of Tampere, where Powell serves as an ambassador, every step for this living legend means a selfie, every greeting means a strong excitement provoked. Today Mike Powell is 58 years old. Three decades have passed since his aerial masterpiece, yet everyone continues to be drawn to the aura of a special man, in the truest sense of the word.

“It’s natural for me to be around people. For some athletes it’s not easy, I understand that, but for me it’s rewarding. Most of all I love being in contact with the athletes I coach. My main goal is to give them confidence and enjoyment. An athlete’s confidence reflects on a person’s confidence, and confidence is a key tool for young kids who are trying to define themselves as human beings, struggling to find their place in sport and society. When I see Masters athletes, then, I know I am in the right place: they’re as crazy as I am. I always say that only those who don’t move are old: I train, I coach young people, I dance, I feel young in the mind. Age is just a number.”

While sipping a glass of Lonkero, a drink invented for the Helsinki ’52 Olympics, together with Emanuele Arese, Chief Operating Officer of Karhu – official sponsor of the Tampere WMA – Mike Powell exudes a feeling of controlled grandeur, of genuine humility. He informs us that he didn’t come to Finland just to shake hands and do PR, but to play music, to DJ in the evening party open to all WMA members.

“I told you, music and athletics are connected. For me, the long jump is hip hop. I grew up with the flow of the Sugar Hill Gang and still dance with my daughter today. So many of my friends listen to jazz, but I need different beats, especially when I’m on the track. I love making music, always have, which is why I started and am continuing to DJ. Music is positivity, and positivity is a secret in a sportsman’s career. As people we tend to be negative, but with the guys I coach I do the exact opposite: I keep telling them how wonderful and great they are. That’s basically what it’s all about, whether it’s a world record or any other goal: if you can see it, if you can feel it, if you can think it, then you can do it…”

This project is supported by Karhu Karhu Running 
Photography Rise Up Duo
Video Youtube
Text by Gianmarco Pacione