Blue Olympic disaster, “zeru tituli.” We explain why

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olympicsFew stories. Needless to say, it is already an accomplishment to be in the Olympics, that “the important thing is to participate” believing we are quoting De Coubertin (who never uttered that phrase). Rio 2016, for Italian sailors, was a disaster. Zeru tituli, as Mourinho put it, and everyone goes home with their tails between their legs. We write still fresh from disappointment. Yes, disappointment because we first hoped that things would turn out differently-how distant from reality the predictions we had drawn up now appear. Few stories. More was to be expected, as some of the Azzurri arrived in Brazil with serious medal claims, justified by their international results so far.

PSYCHOLOGICAL BREAKDOWN
Flavia Tartaglini arrives from first in Medal Race among RS:X, gets it all wrong and exits the podium; same fate for Bissaro-Sicouri (Nacra 17), second in Medal and fifth final after a cursed eighth place. Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (49er FX)contesting the final with no hope of a medal. They were the three most concrete hopes for blue sailing. And all three of them-we are no one to judge, we armchair sailors: there is no questioning the value of the sailors, which is very high-probably victims of a psychological decline. The Olympiad is a regatta in itself. But unfortunately, it is THE regatta: and it matters little if at the international level you have always been at the top. Without a medal, one easily forgets how much good has been expressed over the four-year period. You need a psychologist before an athletic trainer, someone said: but working on the head, for now, in Italy, is something out of science fiction. Psychologists are called only when you realize you have a problem (and then late, when there are no longer extremes to intervene).

MONEY DOESN’T MATTER
And, we repeat, few stories even when it comes to justification: “We have less budget,” “the British team relies on Volvo sponsorship and the national lottery.” It is not a question of money. A good point is made by sailing photographer Andrea Carloni: “Croatia… 4,200,000 inhabitants, GDP per capita $12,500. Silver in the Lasers and overprime in the 470M before the Medal. Slovenia. 2,000,000 population, GDP per capita $22,000. Silver in the Finn and third in the 470F before the Medal. Italy… 60,000,000 inhabitants, GDP per capita $30,000. Not to be found….”

YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THE METHOD
We should take a cue and understand how the federations that bring home medals work. Because the data speak for us: that’s 8 years of Croce management and 8 years without any Olympic results. Clearly, something needs to be changed. Hopefully, the next course will focus more on quantity than on individuals. Davide Portaleone, an avid sailor on Facebook, was pointing out to us that the choice to focus on “champions” is a big risk, “because champions you are from year to year and each time you need to confirm yourself, today’s method is one that focuses on potential and burns out athletes.” We have a very high youth potential, in these two years we have racked up international titles. Let’s not throw everything away. Let’s grow the movement, and whoever is the strongest of the strong will have a better chance of medaling.

Eugene Ruocco

 

This news item is part of the 12 most-read of 2016. Click here to find out all the other most popular news stories of the year!

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