Alex Bellini: “Motivation is a cheat”

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) (source text)

We live on a planet we call Earth, even though 3/4 of it is covered by water. There have been more men to walk on the moon than who have rowed across an ocean. Alex Bellini has never been to outer space, but he has rowed across the Pacific. Twice.

Alex-bellini-motivazione

Alex Bellini

I’m only jealous of this guy because his profession on his ID card reads: explorer. Whereas I am just a journalist, who rows. Or at the very most, a rower who writes. But because of my job, I met him and asked for his help to find the right motivation, with the aim of spending more hours rowing than in front of the TV. It’s a pity he took the wind out of my sails, telling me not to believe in motivation. Because motivation is a cheat. Continue reading

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Mario Palmisano: “Sweep to victory!”

by Mario Palmisano and translated by Gillian Shaw (original article)

Rowing a sport made up of choices. But most of the time it won’t be you who’ll make them – it’ll be your coach. One of these, and possibly the most important, is whether you choose to row sweep oar or to scull.

boat classes

Usually your coach will decide this based on what the squad needs or which boats are available.  It can also be down to his/her personal choice. For example, sweep oar was my coach Aldo Calì’s preference, even though he had won in the 2x with Davide Tizzano.

Sweep to victory! Continue reading

Mattia Trombetta: Devil’s Bowman

by Mattia Trombetta, translated by Gillian Shaw (source text)

I have always loved rowing because it teaches us about life. A sporting career only lasts a short time and the art of rowing  gives you a heightened awareness and focus on the difficulties to be overcome in everyday life. This is what happened to me.

coxed pair

Mario Palmisano (stroke) and Mattia Trombetta (bow)

In 2004, I became the World Champion in the coxed pair with Mario Palmisano and our cox Luigi Longobardi, on the Spanish lake at Banyoles. My name is Mattia Trombetta and I am an Italian rower. I had never believed in the existence of the devil until the day I became his bowman. This is my story. Continue reading

On the road to Rio Paralympics 2016, by Luca Lunghi: the outstanding diary of a Paralympic athlete

by Irene Claudia Riccardi (translated by Gillian Shaw – source text)

I’m not a sporty person but I have always admired those who excel in physical activities. So this book ‘Viaparario2016’ (tr: Road to the Paralympics 2016) by Luca Lunghi has doubly impressed me. Available here in Italian (printed and electronic versions).

Luca-lunghi

Luca Lunghi

An engineer by profession, this diary of an extraordinary and differently-abled athlete covers three years – 2013 to 2016. Beginning when he was asked to join the paralympic rowing squad and Continue reading

10 Crimes against Rowing

by Giuseppe Lamanna translated by Gillian Shaw (source text)

The writer and satirist Antonio Amurri argued that: “The fight against organised crime is really tough, because the crime is organised and we are not”. Thinking about it, he had a point.

Crimini-canottaggio

In rowing’s case, finding those responsible is much simpler: it is us. And the crime is always the same: misdirected energy. So oarspeople, here are the ten crimes against rowing:

Rowing: 10 crimes

1) ROWING OUT OF TIME. A sense of rhythm and coordination are essential in this sport. There is only one mantra for rowers: arms, body, legs – legs, body, arms. Continue reading

Bruno Cipolla, the ‘Rower Whisperer’

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

He who rules the waves, writes history. This quote entered the collective memory via the British Naval Admiral, Horatio Nelson, but which is now more closely linked with one of the most important but least considered roles in rowing: the coxswain. What’s more all eyes are on the rowers during races and not on the ‘little’ great men who ‘whisper’ from the bows or the stern.

bruno-cipolla-4

The legendary Bruno Cipolla

The rowing stroke is like an unbroken chain of instants and rowers live from one to the next, without really taking much notice of what has just or is about to happen. A luxury denied to the cox, because their job is not to ‘enjoy’ the journey, but to predict the future and to change the final outcome by using their voice. And this is just what Bruno Cipolla did in 1968 at the Mexico City Olympics, who as cox steered the coxed pair of Renzo Samba and Primo Baran to Olympic gold.

The ‘Rower Whisperer’

Bruno Cipolla’s story is not just one of the past, it is even more valid now. After almost half a century has passed since that medal, this great athlete continues to have fun in boats; his purpose is to pass on his passion and experience to the youngsters who have recently taken up rowing.

Are coxswains born or made, Bruno? Continue reading

Rowing in New Zealand

by Maria Giulia Parrinelli (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

With a surface area only slightly smaller than Italy’s, there are less than one tenth of the inhabitants.  Its climate and environment are very similar to Italy’s too. Yet, while boasting a not insignificant population of sheep and one of the strongest national rowing squads in the world. Obviously we are talking about New Zealand.

kiwi-blade

Two young women have come onto the All Blacks rowing scene: the charming Holly Fletcher, whom I met in China and this year is an Under 23 athlete; and the lovely Caroline Pearson, who I got to know through the magical world of blogging. Between us we were able to compare both sides of the same coin: rowing at national level from Holly’s perspective, class of ‘94, and that of junior rowing from Caroline. Draw your own conclusions while I pack to move there. Continue reading