Athleta Magazine Issue 9 is a new celebration of the sports muse, its social value, its infinite narrative power, and its relationship with contemporary photography. For the first time, our print journey begins with two different covers. The first is the work of Nils Ericson, while the lens of Rich Wade decorates the second. ‘Game on’, the traditions and rites of passage of American high school football, on one side, and ‘It’s all fake, right?’, the brutal marvel of deathmatch wrestling on the other, are both gateways to this new chapter of our independent publication. Sacrifice, redemption, and resilience accompany us inside the Eastern New York Correctional Facility, where Joseph Rodriguez’s legendary camera captures an unusual yet startlingly relevant bodybuilding contest among inmates. The statuesque bodies of the ‘Forced Reps’ reportage echo an ocean away in the centuries-old, mystical ritual of Iranian wrestling, described in ‘Zurkhaneh, the House of Strength’ by Konstantin Novakovic.

Passion and athletic goals are ageless in ‘Mastering Time,’ our ode to the heroes of World Masters Athletics, and priceless in ‘Fairway Tertulia,’ Joseph Fox’s visual gallery focused on the popular and democratic golfing greens of the Madrid neighborhood of Fuencarral-El Pardo. Lucia Elen Ayari’s ‘Young, Noble Art’ takes us to the fraught suburbs of Catania, where boxing can become a tool for emancipation and hope. From scorching Sicily to freezing Wisconsin: the land of lakes allowed MT Kosobucki to discover and analyze the fascinating sport that combines wind, sails, and sub-zero racing in ‘Ice Sailors’. Finally, the editorial ‘Back in the Days’ that explores breaking, underground Milanese culture and Tommy Biagetti’s photographic flow, is the final piece of our ninth issue, the first with a double face.