Behind a great crew, there is always a great coach. And behind the feat of Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, gold medalists in the Nacra 17 mixed catamaran at the Tokyo Olympics (a gold we have been missing for 21 years, read HERE), is coach Gabriele “Ganga” Bruni.
He, who has known the Olympics firsthand (together with his brother Checco he was an Olympian in Sydney in the 49er) and who had to make a most painful decision, when DT Michele Marchesini asked him the most difficult of questions, “Who do we take to Tokyo? Ruggero and Caterina or Vittorio and Maelle?” Vittorio Bissaro, whom he had followed and coached as part of the Rio 2016 Olympic campaign, paired then with Silvia Sicouri. We don’t know how Bissaro and Frascari, Tita-Banti’s big, strong Italian opponents, would have performed in Tokyo, but with a gold in their pockets, it doesn’t even make sense to ask the question.
Instead, it makes sense to ask what work is behind an Olympic medal. To understand this, one only has to read the post that Ganga Bruni published on Facebook to celebrate Ruggero and Caterina’s victory:
GANGA BRUNI “FREAKS OUT”
“Some numbers of this gold medalist!
We have been at sea 200 days a year for 5 years.
4,400 hours of training
11,000 miles traveled at sea (about 24 times the distance between Palermo and Genoa)
2 World Championships
3 European Championships
58 world cup podiums
Heat, cold , sunshine, rain, victories, defeats, back pain.
Watching the wind and trying to figure out how it moves on the water, watching the sails and trying to give them the right shape, watching the athletes and trying to make them aware and strong.
Now that we are in Olympus, I realize that all of this has been indispensable.
Ruggero and Caterina were perfect!
I dedicate this success of mine to my Parents, to my family who has seen little of me over the years and to my friend Massimo whom not all of you know, to whom I wish to return to the sea soon.
In a few days I will be in my Palermo, I am so tired but happy.
Come on Italy, we did all this for You!
Arigató, Japan! I will have so much to tell my children about you!”
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