25/02/2021DEWALT, Technical Partner of Cortina 2021
A glorious morning at the Cortina 2021 World Championships, presented by Telepass, and the perfect word to sum up everything that happened today in the sun-and-shadow of the Tofane, is day.
“Thirty days hath September, April, June and November. All the rest have thirty-one, but February is really great – it’s the one with twenty-eight”.
As we cease to be children and become adults, becoming increasingly sticky with the passing of time, we learn the bitter truth that it is not the months that define the seasons of life.
The months pile up – January, February, March, April… – all equal, with the same nonchalance and speed as the growing pile of books leaning sadly on the bedside table, there are never enough evenings to open them all.
Year after year, the truth materializes on the horizon, it is certainly not the months, but rather the great events, those that require months of planning, that mark the timeline of our lives.
The World Championships and the Olympics. The budget meeting or a friend’s wedding. More than just dates, they give meaning to our existence and the more you can fill the agenda, the better!
Yet, every time we have to think, for whatever reason, about how many days the current month has, without exception we all fish out the old children’s rhyme above, because with that we can’t go wrong.
Women’s downhill day at the World Championships in Cortina 2021, in the heart of February, which almost always has twenty-eight days, and which already has been packed with enough emotions to fill an entire month.
31, in fact, the skiers at the start line, 30 the number that arrived at the finish line, practically all of them, with the sole exception of the Serbian Nevena Ignjatovic, bib number 31 and the only unlucky one, unable to get to the end of her day with a smile.
31 bibs, 31 girls, thirty-one stories that seem like a day each, and put together, arm in arm, are the perfect photograph of a World Championship that is everyone’s home.
A day of glory for Ania Monica Caill, Romanian, born in 1995, on the third page of her personal world championship diary, who brought a piece of Romania to the snow of Cortina. The same light in the eyes of Australian Greta Small, and Bosnian Elvedina Muzaferija, a very long way from the top, but protagonists in their own way on a day in which just being there is beautiful.
For an instant, right at dawn, it seemed that it could even become a day of blue glory, with 3 Italian girls, Pirovano, Delago and Marsaglia, first, second and third, making us wish the referee would blow the whistle to end the race right there.
But the start bib was only the number 5 of the American Breezy Johnson, a day of regrets for her and our tricolor dreams, sunset arrived emptyhanded.
So let’s start with the hardest day, that of abdication.
Ilka Stuhec, two-times winner in the last two World Championship editions, always in the downhill, always her, with her rebellious curly hair, both in St Moritz and in Åre.
Today she finally abdicated, fourteenth at the finish. She abdicated but did not lose, and we like that, red light on the board but a smile for the cameras printed on her face: “the others were better” she seems to say, so Ilka loses, but for us, she wins, in her very own way.
Climbing up the rankings, the stories of the protagonists gradually get taller, and more sought after, each of them celebrating a page in their agenda that can never be ripped out or thrown away.
Let’s start with the fourth place, first of the disappointed, the first woman at the foot of the podium.
Ester Ledecka at the foot of the podium, which today almost looks like a stage full of rock stars, and her day was in fact just like a concert.
The cameras placed on the track steal pieces of history, give it body, and throughout the downhill of the Czech, her cries of fatigue echo loudly in her speakers.
At every turn, Ester, a soprano on skis, gives out a scream of fear, a bit like an elegant tennis player and a bit like a massive boxer, and if you think about it, that’s just what it is like.
However, she misses the final high note.
When Lara Gut Behrami starts, it seems like groundhog day.
“Groundhog day” was filmed when Lara was only 2 years old, but the screenwriter of today’s downhill appeared to have put it on the projector. In the movie, an irresistible Bill Murray wakes up every day at 6 o’clock, and every day is… always the exact same day. An endless slew of February 2nd.
Lara’s race is like a dejavù, green, green and still green, 5 split-times in a row, like yesterday, more than yesterday, it’s as if the World Championships belong to her.
Red in the end, however, ending in third place, in an extraordinary race.
Between her and the gold we find, in second place, Kira Weidle, who had never won silver.
Not at the Olympics, nor at the world championships, not even in the World Cup where she limited herself to two bronze medals.
An early Valentine’s Day, for her and for us who, like a blind date, followed the downhill of this German girl who is young, but not very young, and who curve after curve, earned herself a blind date with history. And in the end she scored, like her compatriot Baumann on Thursday.
Ahead of everyone though, perhaps we should have told you right away, Corinne Suter wins, Swiss like Lara, a winner like her, and already a medal-winner in this edition of the World Championships, in Thursday’s super-G.
For a moment, to be honest, the “Russian Doll” effect, lucky Netflix series with an example of “Groundhog Day” which should appeal more to younger viewers, or the “Memento” effect, or the “Inception” effect, take your pick, as many have played with the concept of time that repeats itself, because the podium looks very much like something we’ve already seen, with two Swiss athletes leading the dance.
But Corinne, the new downhill world champion, deserves her very own day, and that is “The day of the owl”, a masterpiece by Leonardo Sciascia, who in post-war Sicily writes a story of passion, rebirth and courage, concepts which according to him should be taught at school.
So, take Corinne’s perfect skiing today and send it to all the ski schools in the world, that’s how you win the most important gold girls, take note.
Suter, first, Weidle, second, Gut-Behrami, third, plus 28 more, like the days of February, a world championship February.
Each with her own story and a bib to tell the tale.
Each in her own way.
My name is Jacopo Pozzi and today in Cortina was a day to remember.
One for the ages.