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.

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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

Now it’s September, what next?

by Davide Petucco translated by Gillian Shaw (source text)

imagesSeptember’s the month when everything starts again: we get back to our usual work schedule, kids go back to school, football starts again, even the winter TV schedule begins…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always lived September as if it were a magical month, full of promise, the right time to start something new.

Now, as a cyclist, September represents a ‘middle ground’.

Weather conditions are Continue reading

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

Majesty

by Giacomo Pellizzari, translated by Gillian Shaw (original article)

The Stelvio – who is that?
Of course, now that Alfa Romeo has named a car after it, everyone knows what ‘The Stelvio’ is. A bewitching mountain with all the required ingredients to strike terror and to make history. A kind of pagan temple shrouded between the clouds of Mount Ortler and the glaciers of Monte Cevedale.  An impossible dream, a surfaced route that goes straight from Austria to Italy. From Vienna, down to Milan. A non-stop road, that takes the most direct course. But before that, who knew what the Stelvio was?stelvio
It took an Italian engineer – the best there was – to build this road at the behest of Emperor Franz I. The Austrians would only have the best, after all. His name was Carlo, 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

Etna calls, ‘El Pistolero’ replies.

By Giacomo Pellizzari, translated by Gillian Shaw (original article)

Below the volcano.
They call her Mungibeddu. And she always does things big. She wasn’t messing around even with this year’s eruption. The road that goes up to the Sapienza di Nicolosi mountain hut has never been the same. It has to be sorted out every time Mungibeddu has some fun with volcanic rock and rivers of molten lava. Her summit craters are vast and immense, true. But the most dangerous at least for the road, are the fissures, that open up like rifts going right down into the valley. Someone was hurt this year while they were out on a trip and playing – a little too much – with fire.

Etna
At the top of Etna, there used to be a tower. It was called the Philosopher’s Tower and 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.

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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

Francesco Cardaioli: merits of the 1x

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

Amongst the many problems that can plague the amateur rower, the sculling-related ones are the most tricky: particularly that of finding reliable crew mates. Very often, I am the only one around to row with.

Merits of the 1x

So who better to help me understand than the single sculler in the Italian squad: is solitude in rowing a blessing or a curse? In this sport, the ones who really do battle are those who train alone; those who have chosen to train with only their own demons for company. And only those who train alone, really know what those demons are.

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Francesco Cardaioli: “Taking on the single was almost out of necessity rather than choice.  I first competed in a single in my second year as a junior, and I have never stopped since. My first experience of international racing in a single was in 2013. At the start of the four year cycle it had to be the boat class to gain experience racing against seniors. Then, little by little, the single became mine. Continue reading

Memories of an old racing vest – rowing will always give you a second chance

by Mario Scalella (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

My name is Mario and I am 60 years old. People of my age play cards, go out cycling, collect stamps, but rowing is my passion. Although sometimes when I look in the mirror, I ask myself if I am too old. Yet my heart tells me to carry on and the medical check-ups alay any worries.

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Mario Scalella, seat number 2, won the Lysistrata Cup, 1973.

My rowing story started at 17 when I joined the ‘free rowing course’ organised by Naples Rowing Club (Circolo Canottieri Napolihttp://www.circolocanottierinapoli.it). At the time I was a big lad – a bit overweight – so I decided to take up a sport to make me feel more confident. To get the ‘look’, to get the girls. I loved football and the sea, and I admit that the free part of the course was the bit that lead me to Molosiglio, where the rowing club is still located.  Continue reading