I decided to try to go to the Games, following my Olympic dream, when I was 19 years old. At that time I was weighing 80 kgs and had, hard to believe, blond curls. My dad got cancer and my life got upside down, that was a race I had no chance to win. University was going very well though I had to confront myself with the end of a life, my mind was in a huge turmoil. One day I felt really down and looking at myself in the mirror I asked myself: what do you really want to do in your life? Only one answer… sailing and racing. What is your impossible hidden dream, winning a medal at the Games, and so the decision was taken. Only one life and sometimes short and terminating brutally, I quit university and went to live on Lake Garda and sailing and racing became my mantra.
It was not one easy task, actually it was the toughest challenge I could confront myself with, but I would not leave any screw unturned, by choosing the toughest class, the Finn. I had to really change my body, so I went to the local weight lifting club, Bentegodi in Verona, and started pumping iron as hard as I could, nine training session a week plus cardio massive feedings and training as hard as I could. My maestro was mister Marella from Verona. It took nine months for me to get to 96 kgs, I was ready for the brutal beast. My mates were going windsurfing, skying… having fun. I did not take any risk, my left knee already a question mark in my sportive career and the reason to quit basketball. It was not about having fun, the fun was achieving the goal that I set for myself.
My grandfather had left me a huge house on Lake Garda, the Finns in the garden, top athletes loved Lake Garda, training with a rampant beginner the exchange for free housing. I did no take long and I was going fast, upwind in the breeze specially ultra fast, the anger and the pain fuelling the need to excell and try to get up there, and so hour after hour I was getting better and Hans Spitzauer, Hank Lammens, Stig Westergaard sailing on that really cold lake in the hard Garda winters teached me everything and showed the way.
Olympism is about excellence, is about being as good as you possibly can, is about training as hard as humanly possible, is about the inner need of prooving that you are worth something, that you can get all the way up on that dream podium.
Well… today I went to the local beach here in warm Valencia and wanted to see the kitesurfing life. I found there a community of beach lovers, some handsome girls in micro bikinis, still a good glimpse even for one old man like me, and riders having fun blasting back and fourth, same spirit like at the beginning of windsurfing, though a bit easier to kite to start with than to windsurf. Surely among all the riders some have the devil inside and want to win, but my feeling is that the riders community is quite different to the one of sailors as the sport is not as hard physically and the fun greater. What do you think about it our beloved readers? As kitesurfing is split, some riders in World Sailing and some others in one independent international federation, is kitesurfing sailing and, if the answer is yes, how many boards do we want in olympic sailing, ie do you think windsurf and kitesurf should be in the Olympics together?
I am not sure, I can see that you can race kites similarly to dinghies though I do not think the even 1 % of the beach riders have that dream, actually asking the ones on the beach they could not care less about the Olympics, and did not even know that 2020 the Games were in Japan. Quite a few of my Finn sailors kites for fun, and for sure they have fun and enjoy it, than back to the tough work to dream being olympian sailing the brutal Finn.
So here we are at a crossroads for the Olympics and for sailing, the ageing population of lovers of olympism the biggest question? Young kids do not really need and like competing like we used to do, beacuse our more open and tollerant society takes away the inner tension as fathers, families and society are not as hard to kids as it used to be. The interest of the youngsters has mooved away from wanting to show they are better and let the inner devil breath and mooved towards sports that are fun and at the same time make them feel alive by giving the one adrenaline rush, and so xgames and bodysuit flying and kiting in impossible winds and taking greater risks always with the odd camera to have the chance to show they are the heroes of one day. Mixing this with the olympic motto citius, altius, fortius the question.
Also IOC is trying to answer to this by adding five news sports and five hundreds extra athletes though leaving all existing sports untoched. Let’s try to give one appropriate answer and evaluate and think, your input is needed.