Coni’s mission after Tokyo

The Olympics have brought Italy to the top of the world: no one jumps high, runs fast and walks better than us. Such success is the confirmation of a sports model in which the public hand has always played a predominant role. Even in Japan, in fact, the vast majority of medals come from the sports groups of the Police, the Finance Police, the Carabinieri and the Army who enlisted the athletes when they were young promises, investing in everyone’s talent and providing facilities and professionalism for their workouts. In this way the State, being able to offer a permanent job, has managed to guarantee its athletes an existential security even after the end of the competitive activity that an exclusively private model is obviously unable to offer, if not to a handful

However, this explosion of glory – Italy in these Olympics has beaten the record of medals won since 1896 to date – must also be based on other reasons that the sudden and unpredictable emergency conditions imposed by the epidemic have helped to enhance. Of course, as declared by Coni president Giovanni Malagò, these victories are the symbol of a multi-ethnic and super integrated Italy, but it is likely that the secret formula of the record also arose from the virtuous cross between the usual sports model of military origin and one private family type, put to the test by the lockdown, with his proverbial art of getting by.

Proof of this are the videos of the places and training methods of the many winners who have allowed enter the backstage of every single company, postponing a surprising homemade, artisanal and do-it-yourself reality: Marcell Jacobs, the fastest man in the world, during the epidemic, trained on a private track made available by a friend of the mother who had it built in the garden of her villa and, according to her Roman training companions, all amateur athletes at a guess, perfected the start thanks to the availability of someone or of them sitting on the blocks to hold them steady with his own weight; the other sprinter Filippo Tortu said he kept fit in the park near his home; the walker Massimo Stano made whirlwind turns in the green area of ​​the Ostia district where he lives, arousing the understandable curiosity of his neighbors who did not know he was preparing for the Olympics; the gymnast Vanessa Ferrari has resumed twirling in the garage of her home; the karateka Luigi Busà repeatedly hit an artisan “match”, that is to say a broomstick at the end of which a red glove was fixed; the walker Antonella Palmisano carried out the daily exercises in the courtyard of the house, squeezed between a parked car and the railing to which to attach the elastic for push-ups and the neighbors thought she wanted to be an exhibitionist.

In some cases it was the fathers themselves who became the coaches of their children in pursuit of a glory they missed that led them to transform the trap of frustration into a springboard between the generations: thus Tamberi senior, former record holder high jump Italian, he forged the Tamberi junior; karateka Busà still remembers the time when his father Sebastiano, former Italian champion who trained him, shook his hand and said “do you want to become number one?”, promising him a dream that has now become reality starting from a kitchen in Avola (“I was then an obese child and only my father believed in me”). Behind other stories of victory, however, there are absent fathers and model mothers like those of Jacobs and Fausto Desalu, who raised their respective children alone and against the grain, teaching them the value of sacrifice and redemption that they found in the challenge to run. faster than all an irresistible relief valve.

The possible origin of these Italian golds, however, also reveals the other side of the coin that raises a spontaneous question: if we have arrived this way in high thanks to this hybrid and flexible model, in which the family dimension, with its intricate psychological motivational dynamics, and the state one, with its work reassurances for the aftermath, have mixed together, multiplying their beneficial effects, what could do Italy if it were able to organize a sports system up to these incredible individual successes? With greater economic investments in the sector, with the construction of more modern and widespread training facilities in the area, with the development of a capillary sports culture starting from compulsory school?

Next This is the challenge for Coni: to do more and better to transform the triumph of Tokyo into an opportunity for sporting growth for the entire country system.

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