Huge, wonderful, giant day at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina, presented by Telepass, and the only word that can fully describe its absolute grandeur is: style.

Style.

After all, ours is a choice-not-choice because too much has happened in the world giant to sum it up in a few ill-counted syllables, like the woollen blanket that is too short to cover your shoulders and your feet simultaneously. 

Impossible to compress and describe in a single word, unless Mary Poppins invents one especially for the occasion.

A woollen blanket, like the one that belongs to Linus, Charlie Brown’s friend in the Peanuts, who when he puts on his glasses becomes Joe Cool, all legitimate children from the genius pen of Charles Monroe Schulz.

Linus’ blanket is his own personal deviance, his own touch of style, the habit that digresses from the narrative and that seems out of tune when you are scarce, but becomes front page news when you fly high.

Sivori’s lowered socks, Michael Jordan’s protruding tongue, Rafa Nadal’s gesture of fixing his hair before serving.

Close up we are all small and strange, but when the champion clears customs, for himself and for the rest of us, oddly we suddenly find ourselves a little less alone.

“The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club”, everyone knows this, whether you prefer the book or the movie.

And “The first rule of the giant is that you do not talk about the first run”, at least one shouldn’t, because as in physics, nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, but everything is transformed and until the descent of the last athlete in the last run, which is always the second, we cannot draw conclusions.

Yet today, at the start, not yet ten o’clock, a maze of stories has already exploded, a crossroads of trails and routes, because at the start of this gigantic giant, there are dozens of unique champions, all with their own unmistakable style and their own Linus blanket under their arm.

A war of ideas, a clash of civilizations and philosophies that begins well before the first gate.

There is Marta Bassino, for example, who reminds us of Muhammad Ali, light as a butterfly, twirls and stings like a bee, like a leaf carried by a precise breeze that ushers her between the gates.

There is Mikaela, surname superfluous, who skis like she’s carrying knowledge from distant times, she is Joe di Maggio, she is Babe Ruth, she is Wayne Gretzky, people who have done more for sport than sport has done for them. We will realize it only at the end perhaps.

There is Michelle Gisin, who almost resembles Conor McGregor, pound for pound, one of the best, fake show-off and always jumping, a show within a show, who as soon as the race is over, melts into a smile typical for those who always seem happy.

There is Vhlova, huge, icy, very strong, frontier talent, reminiscent of the little tsar, Elena Isinbaeva, who won 3 world championships, two Olympics and with the poles pushed beyond the limits of human resistance, as well as all the others.

Gut-Behrami: the Serena Williams of the snows; Alice Robinson, New Zealander, new and advancing, would choose rugby given a choice of sport.

At the start, the cage has many queens, and the first run is a game of proclamations, a crossroads of intentions, each with its own electoral program and its own unmistakable approach.

All great queens but, today’s phrase, “there is no sovereignty in solitude”, paraphrasing: if you do not reign over anyone then you are not reigning at all.

Welcome then the crowded gate, crowded in general and crowded with pretenders to the throne, on the morning of the gigantic giant.

Choose your favourite, change her if you must, in any case you won’t be wrong, you are never wrong.

This is the spectacle of skiing.

The first run ends, everyone has concluded their inaugural statement, there are those who hit the wrong note, and our hearts weep for them, and there are those who nailed their opening speech. 

Today’s “I have a dream” is recited by Nina O’Brien, second, by a round of applause, behind our Joe di Maggio, the rest of the best are, almost, all there.

But it is in the second run that everything is decided, and after all, there is beauty in suffering during the wait.

Cup of tea, or coffee, or something stronger, even if it is not cold-cold, we are still in the heart of winter, and it is already time to start again, the top 30 are reversed, they will all descend anyway, because these are the World Championships.

To win, however, you need to forget about orthodoxy and throw the Linus blanket out the window, because the track, designed by Petra Vhlova’s coach, is round, complicated, and above all very long.

Gigantic giant, the exit polls are starting to arrive and the Slovakian is there to greet the dream of a medal, together with Gisin, combined medallist, and Worley, miss giant to everyone.

Four of them remain in the last ring: a wooden medal for Alice Robinson, fourth, from New Zealand with fury, who touches the miracle by literally punching the track.

Third is Katharina Liensberger, Austrian, already winner of the parallel giant with Marta.

The final ballot is between Gut-Behrami and Shiffrin.

The Swiss athlete produces a dream run, in a discipline that is not really hers and so when the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Mikaela starts, there is simply no other way to describe her, the ballet of the hundredths rewards Lara, by less than a hair from Snoopy’s whiskers.

First the Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, dominatrix of Cortina, second Mikaela Shiffrin, third the Austrian Liensberger.

I am Jacopo Pozzi, the word of the day is style, and today’s race has been the most beautiful giant in a very long time.

Thanks girls.

“The Championships Diary – Day 11”: the emotions and the best moments of the day told by Jacopo Pozzi, pen of The Owl Post, on the Cortina 2021 social media and app. Powered by Telepass