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

Advertisements

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

Gravelines – French Rowing Championships!

by Jérémie Azou (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

I could hardly have imagined finishing the year so fantastically! This weekend, the French Rowing Championships marks the end of what has been the best season of my career. And each medal has its own tale to tell!

The medal I won the day before yesterday has its own particular flavour; That of sharing and friendship with my crew- and club-mate Julien Gazaix. He has been there training with me day in and day out, for the past two years. His physical and moral support was essential when aiming for the Olympics. Finishing with this title  with him, in the 2x, was the best finale possible.

azou1

Photo credit: FFSA (Lionel Piquard) Continue reading

Rowing: what I have learned, and what I have yet to learn

by Giuseppe Lamanna (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

There are moments in a rower’s life when you have to stop and weigh up what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and where you’re going. An existential crisis? Not exactly.

Some situations push you towards important moments of reflection – the result of cumulative experience. Someone once said that you learn to really live just when here is no longer any point in living. Life’s often like that. But then it is also true that sharing your own knowledge is vital, particularly when it is what you have learnt. Continue reading

Rowing: Don’t say “I can’t!”

by Anonymous Rower (translated by Gillian Shaw) source text

My name is Fabio and I, like many others wanted to be a rower. I was born and grew up in Sardinia and I enjoyed water sports as a youngster. I lived near a large lake, which is where I began to row, when I was little more than a child.

The feeling of being in a boat made me fall in love with the sport there and then. Yet, I was to give it up all too soon. At 19, I left home to go to university. At 31, straight after graduating with a PhD, I dropped everything and moved to Oxford.

I cant

Don’t say: “I can’t!”

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.

sidney-2000

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