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

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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.

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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

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

Alessio Sartori: “Be the best sculler in the world!”

by Alessio Sartori (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

I was born and brought up as a sculler, because there were no other rowers of my age at the club I joined. So, my coach Lorenzo Gattuso put me out in a single; this was the start of my (all-too-common) love-hate relationship with this boat class.

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Italian Coxless Quad at Sydney Olympics 2000. From the left: Agostino Abbagnale, Alessio Sartori, Rossano Galtarossa and Simone Raineri.

Despite all of that though, Continue reading

Murray beat Pinsent, but is it a verified record?

by Vincenzo Triunfo (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

For a sportsperson, beating a record is the pinnacle. Limits are defined by records, in sport. Yet, while records are there to be broken, sometimes we find ourselves facing up to records that are the result of a technological or environmental change.

murray

In rowing, for example, records are generally set over 2000 metres. The reason for this is simple: there are too many influences on conditions where we race, but thanks to the ergometer (indoor rower), rowers can test themselves against the records set over various distances.

Murray beat Pinsent: but is it a true record?! Continue reading

I sat in my single scull and wept

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

I am certain that rowing doesn’t love me. It doesn’t matter though. I love it. Or maybe not. I hate it, but don’t want to. I’d love to get rowing out of my head, but I can’t. It is too devious/insidious/underhand. First it treats you badly everyday. Then, when you aren’t looking, it leaves something behind.

sculler

Only later do you realise that the something was happiness. That’s how it got me. Just at the moment when I thought our paths would no longer cross. Instead, one day at 7.30am, I sat in my single and wept. Continue reading