Sports greats are the subject of The Champions.
Sports greats are the subject of The Champions.

Top Draft Pix

The Champions brings sports all-stars to life

By Hart Van Denburg
You may not know Denver's Rich Clarkson, but if you're a sports fan, you'd probably recognize his photographs. For fifty years, Clarkson has covered college and professional teams for publications such as Sports Illustrated and Time; included in his collection are shots taken at forty Final Four hoops tourneys, beginning in 1952.The photographer, whose company provides photos for the Broncos, the Rockies and the NCAA, was a principal designer and curator for the NCAA Hall of Champions when the organization was headquartered in Kansas City. And now the NCAA has commissioned Clarkson to create The Champions: Portraits From the NCAA Arena, a 32-image retrospective of his collegiate work. A preview of the exhibition, which is slated for a national tour and eventual installation at the NCAA's new headquarters in Indianapolis, opens tonight with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Qube Visual, 1247 Santa Fe Drive.

The pictures are not the stop-action moments of key plays and high emotions one usually sees on the sports pages; they're the quiet moments, when athletes sat for formal portraits in front of Clarkson's camera and their private personalities came shining through the lens. Famous faces abound, including sprinter Carl Lewis, swimming sensation Mark Spitz and a young UCLA hoopster named Lew Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Colorado fans will recognize former Nuggets player and coach Dan Issel from his Kentucky days, as well as former Broncos, and Stanford, quarterback John Elway.

The Champions will be on display at Qube through the end of December; admission is free. For further information, call 303-605-6100.

White Out

SnowSports Expo gets you in gear

By Julie Dunn
Gear up for winter both mentally and physically at this weekend's Colorado SnowSports Expo, where you'll find everything from half-price Burton snowboards to indoor ski slopes for kids."You can get all of your equipment, apparel and season passes, and also enjoy a full day of entertainment," says expo spokeswoman Janie McCullough. "There is just so much going on."

Along with great deals, the event will feature screenings of extreme-sports films and performances by professional athletes riding the Honda Indoor Rail Slide and flipping through the air on the Air Tower Power Trampoline. At the Grand Central Stage, visitors can step into the ring wearing huge sumo wrestling suits or take on the climbing wall.

More than 30,000 people are expected to attend the SnowSports Expo, which takes place at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, today from noon to 10 p.m., tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. General admission is $10; children twelve and under get in free. Discount coupons and information are available at


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