Six Sportret stories worth sharing
Favorite anecdotes from SPORTRET
In November we launched an new book made by MENDO: SPORTRET, which bundles a selection of Klaas Jan van der Weij’s impressive contribution to Dutch sports photography. The book contains intriguing, humorous and surprising images, but also some great anecdotes. We made a small selection of favorite stories Klaas Jan shared whilst making SPORTRET.
1 Greg LeMond – Paris-Roubaix (Roubaix, 1992)
During the 1992 Paris-Roubaix stage, former Tour winner Greg LeMond was merely a helper of teammate and winner Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. LeMond, exhausted, sits in his iconic locker room of the Roubaix velodrome. This photo won the World Press Photo Award in the Sport category.
2 Jurrie Koolhof & Ruud Gullit – VVV-PSV (Venlo, 1987)
In the old De Koel stadium, PSV had won the championship of 1987. Moments after the referee blew his whistle, fans stormed the field. Luckily, I saw it coming and so I cased all my stuff and followed Gullit and Koolhof, who were taking shelter in an underpass. I thought: “if I stay with Gullit, I’ll be alright.”
3 Olympic Winter Games (Lillehammer, 1994)
During my first Olympic Winter Games, when cameras weren’t remotely controlled, I wanted to make a photo from underneath a ski-jump. I wasn’t allowed to be there, but because the TV broadcast had already started, I also couldn’t leave as well. I was ready to take pictures, but I had made one big mistake: I was standing underneath a huge concrete ramp, and I couldn’t see when skiers would fly over my head. Luckily, a girl on one of the stages completely understood my problem and so she signalled when I had to take a photo. With her help, I took this picture.
‘If I stay with Gullit, I’ll be alright.’
‘If I stay with Gullit, I’ll be alright.’
Klaas Jan van der Weij
4 Joost Luiten – KLM Open (Zandvoort, 2014)
One play before I took this picture, I was laying on a small hill with three other photographers. We had to be completely quiet. We had to stop moving when Luiten stopped moving. I was quiet as a mouse, but I when I focused my camera, I accidentally pressed too hard and took a picture. Luiten heard the small sound my camera produced during autofocusing, and directly lost it. “I don’t know who it is, but if I lose this match, it’s your fault!” Luiten won the tournament.
5 Johan Cruijff (Amsterdam, 1988)
My career basically started with this picture. I used to take pictures of amateur matches, but now Dutch newspaper Het Parool asked me to take some pictures of an Ajax training. When I sneaked into the small, old training hall, Johan Cruijff walked towards me. I feared that he would be angry because I sneaked in, but he only said: “well, boy, do your best. Make something beautiful.” A moment later, he stepped on the ball and watched the training. I knew instantly: this is the shot. This is Cruijff. When I developed the pictures at home, the newspaper called me. Apparently, Cruijff had resigned, and so they asked me if I had taken a picture of him that day. I sure did! After I sent that picture to Het Parool, I never again photographed amateur matches.
6 Paul Gascoigne – European Championship soccer (London, 1996)
I just had to see this game: one doesn’t easily forget a soccer match between Scotland and England, in Wembley Stadium. It’s one of the best games I have ever witnessed, the atmosphere was exhilarating. I was on the spare list, so I wasn’t in the section with the other photographers. Then, when Cascoigne scored, he dropped right before the boarding where I sat behind. All of a sudden, my unhandy position turned out to be rather neat.
SPORTRET is a book that bundles a selection of sports photographs from award-winning Dutch photographer Klaas Jan van der Weij. SPORTRET is made by MENDO and contains over 380 pages with nothing but intriguing, humorous, surprising images and unbelievable anecdotes.
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