25/02/2021DEWALT, Technical Partner of Cortina 2021
Days of pride, of stories and history, the kind you study at school and too often tend to forget, at the 2021 Cortina World Championships, presented by Telepass, and the word of the day is anthem.
National anthem, a piece of land that becomes a piece of paper to finally become music, in the head of a man, in the head of a genius who transforms a thought into a collective sentiment.
Modern man might say that the borders of the World are conventions, dotted lines that separate what nature has created and built in its entirety. This valley is yours, but pay attention because beyond that slope, what you see belongs to me. And you can’t come here.
Nations, States, Municipalities, Maritime Republics, Lordships … History has carved the shape of the political atlas, that same history that today appears to be dying, perhaps already cold, at the foot of the advancing modern-day, which transforms the Planet into one big country.
Globalization, they call it, it’s what brings fast food to every corner, internet to every home and a sushi bar to every square.
You travel, I travel too, across the ocean, across the Alps, landing in another time zone: in flight we are all small and perfect, like the World seen from the sky.
The Italian anthem was written by a certain Goffredo Mameli, who certainly was no old man with a beard, intent on struggling among old and smoky mottos, or a scholar of the ancient past, a lone source of knowledge.
No. Goffredo was strong, young and idealistic, he died aged 21, barely the legal drinking age in many places, and he died in battle, in 1849, in an attempt to “make Italy”. An Italy he never saw, that of the “brothers of Italy”, not even close, but he lived and he died for that very idea.
Ideas are powerful stuff, such as those of Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Norwegian, who wrote the national anthem of Norway, who won a Nobel Prize and who, together with Henrik Ibsen, rewrote the history of theater, the history of world theater that is, not the Norwegian one.
From Shakespeare to Pirandello, passing via King Lear, written by the English Bard and centuries later set to music by Giuseppe Verdi. Long live Giuseppe Verdi then, another one of those who sacrificed a piece of soul for the nation and the ideas that underpins its anthem.
Here then is the meaning of today, which is that even in the face of the advance of the only army that will never be defeated, the future that is, an ancient regurgitation of belonging rises from the pit of the stomach and brings us back, for a moment, to be more than just ourselves.
Only the dead truly see the end of a war, and in the struggle between future and past, man is crushed in a strange present, in which he remembers being a child of the traditions and thoughts of his own people, but at the same time always feels part of the present moment. He is a citizen of the world.
Team event, an event for teams, which becomes the challenge of once-upon-a-time, a confrontation between Nations, wars, that, at least in the West, no longer exist: us against you, you against them and them against everyone, to establish who is the strongest, who is the best, who will win the gold.
Like a relay, more than a relay, two men and two women, plus the reserves, represented by the millions of viewers glued to their television screens, ready to enter the track, to give their delegates a helping push with their bare hands.
One arrives, and as they pass the finish line, the next starts, in the alpine version of tug-of-war or wireless telephone: if you get it wrong, I get it wrong.
It starts with challenges so loaded with memory that it’s as if someone re-erected the Berlin Wall last night: Germany against Great Britain, United States against the Russian Federation, and the Iron Curtain immediately drops.
In the end, only four teams make it, four flags and four anthems will play for today’s medals. And the two finals seem to sum up the poem told before: Germany against Switzerland for the bronze and Norway against Sweden for the gold. Similar, but not the same. Brothers, but from a different mother.
Two derbies of culture, geography and soul, but summarized in different colours.
Nothing comes of nothing, but when the bow is strung and taut, the arrow shoots and goes straight to where it needs to go.
Germany finishes third, yellow, red and black, bronze.
Second, and therefore silver, for King Carl Gustav’s Sweden.
And first, gold, triumph and everything more for Norway, the Norway of “many things” but today more than ever the Norway of Bjornson, the poet who wrote the anthem that today made the Tofane tremble.
And for the modern man who cannot raise his heart to the level of his lips, today is a special day, because you don’t need to be a champion to be moved by an anthem, it is sufficient to be real people, with a story.
And in the words of the old poet here is a truth without borders:
“Yes, we love this country, as it rises forth, rugged, weathered, over the water, with the thousands of homes, love, love it and think of our father and mother and the saga-night that lays dreams upon our earth.”
A day of national pride, at the Cortina World Championships, days of borders, stories and flags.