Spikes13 Aug 2015

Worlds through a lens


World Champs through the lens

As Getty Images Director of Photography – Sport, snapper supremo Steve Rose has been involved in every edition of the IAAF World Championships spanning 32 years. We asked the photographic stalwart, who will be covering his 15th World Championships in Beijing next week, to delve into his back catalogue and come up with his all-time favourites pics.

Helsinki 1983

Carl Lewis Getty Best

Carl Lewis anchors the USA to 4x100m relay gold, one of three he won at those championships

“Technically it may not be the best picture, but it is symbolic for several reasons.

“Firstly, back then it was before the days of transmission and the technology of transparency film. So we didn’t actually see the image until it was processed many days later! Also, during those championships, Carl was a massive story and I also selected the image because it was taken at the first World Championships.” 

Tokyo 1991

Mike Powell Getty Best

Mike Powell’s world record-breaking leap in the men’s long jump

“The Mike Powell v Carl Lewis long jump battle was another crazy night. I remember the long jump competition went on very late in Tokyo and that image of Powell was used in Sports Illustrated.

“The world long jump record has a very special meaning for Getty, as a photograph of the previous world record set by Bob Beamon at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics helped set up the Getty agency.

“I like the Powell image because you can tell in the shot he is giving absolutely everything. Pictorially it is very strong.”

Gothenburg 1995

Jonathan Edwards Getty Best

Jonathan Edwards reacts to breaking the triple jump world record

“That whole afternoon was thumping. None of us had ever seen anything like it before as Jonathan Edwards broke the world record twice.

“I could have gone for a celebration shot, but I like this image because I don’t think he quite realised what he has achieved. The open sky also adds atmosphere to the shot.”

Athens 1997

Colin Jackson Getty Best

Sprint hurdler Colin Jackson is pictured with his Union Flag contact lenses

“Part of our role at Getty Images is also covering a number of pre-championship events, and as I recall this was a photo call we did with Puma.

“As soon as Colin turned up with the contact lenses in, we all thought 'wow, this is different'. Colin was a big name at the time and this picture got a lot of use. The photo-call was a very straight forward event, but this picture was quite different.”

Seville 1999

Michael Johnson Getty Best

Michael Johnson crosses the finish line after smashing the world record

“Johnson breaking the long-standing world 400m record was a massive news story and at the time he was a big star in the sport. I just like this as a finish picture, it is nicely framed and it was a key moment in Seville.

“Rather than choosing a slightly cheesy pic of him by the finish clock, this moment of him crossing the line summed up what was a massive moment in track and field.”

Helsinki 2005

Paula Radcliffe Getty Best

Paula Radcliffe celebrates winning the world marathon title

“Paula winning the world title was a big news story following the trials and tribulations in some other moments of her career. This was not a classic finish line picture. The image of the flag made it very graphic and the picture also summed up that loneliness of the women’s marathon because she is on her own.

“Through good times and bad, Radcliffe was always a great story and Helsinki was one of her glory moments.”

Moscow 2013

Alysia Montano Getty Best

Alysia Montano lies on the track after finishing fourth the final of the women’s 800m

“I picked this image because it shows the use of our most modern technology. In Moscow we used robotic cameras in the roof of the stadium and I think this image shows the value in using them to get that unique angle.

“Photographically it is very strong.  I like the fact the athlete is on her own and the colours – the blue track with the athlete kitted in red – work nicely.”