An adrenaline-filled Tuesday on the snow of Cortina, at the 2021 World Championships, presented by Telepass, with another 6 medals assigned, among them three gold, for the ski champions who’ve arrived in the Dolomites from every corner of the planet, and who in an afternoon of fire on the ice, even if the temperatures were almost spring like, fired up the scene and burned the emotions.

And in fact the word of the day is: spaghetti.

But why, I hear you say.

Simply because no other word more aptly describes the show we witnessed today and its unparalleled electric charge, arriving intermittently, like a morse code, between pauses and restarts, hitting you straight in the chest, and how!

With tomato sauce, with ragù, Cantonese style, or classic garlic, oil and chilli pepper, but put your spoon and fork away, because by the time the parallel ends, mealtime has long since passed.

None of this, however, at least not until the next meal, because the only spaghetti we could really talk about today are Spaghetti-Westerns.

Spaghetti-Western, or even, Italian Western.

This genre, which made cinema history, includes films that alone are worth as much as a career spent behind the camera, and have shot names synonymous with earth, adrenaline and gun powder, into orbit.

More than all others, two of these, Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone, have elevated the Italian stalemate, the shoot-out dense with pathos, that makes it almost impossible to breathe, and filled, above all, with dialogues that define the meaning of good, bad and everything in between.

“For a Fistful of Dollars”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, “Once Upon a Time in the West”, just to be clear, without these Spaghetti Westerns – we would not be able to admire the refined and cerebral splatter by Quentin Tarantino today, who in the credits dedicates Kill Bill to Sergio, surname superfluous, or the weathered and very American face of Clint Eastwood, “The billion dollar man”.

Today, we witnessed a western shootout on the snow of Cortina, in the shade of the menacing Tofane, men and women, Indians and cowboys, challenged each other to determine the fastest trigger in the old west.

In “For a Fistful of Dollars” the old Indian said: “when a man with a gun meets a man with a shotgun, the man with the gun is a dead man”.

The larger calibre rifles, however, do not even show up at the start, leaving the field free to all kinds of outlaws who, without the women’s sheriff Mikaela Shiffrin, and the men’s sheriff Alexis Pinturault, could all smell the looming assault on the O.K. Corral.

In the morning qualifiers, another of the obligatory favourites, who with her malicious grin would look perfect on a “Wanted, dead or alive” poster, Slovak Petra Vhlova makes a mistake and exits the pack.

One out, two out and three out, in the Saloon of the Tofane, all the 32 gunslingers left standing for the challenge at noon, are convinced they can go all the way, each with their own old colt, hidden in their holster, sock or garter.

Even Marta Bassino is convinced of this, who entered the top 16 by the skin of her teeth and has much to thank her lucky star for.

So here we are at the showdown, one against the other, up and down the mountain with the quad: whoever wins goes on, whoever loses goes home, or goes back to the hotel: the World Championships are certainly not yet finished.

The fastest fingers in the West begin a fight of nerves and reflexes.

Two parallel runs, one on the right and one on the left, one red and the other blue, like the double-ended pencils the teachers used in elementary school to mark the errors in my essays. Red for slight oversights, blue for mistakes that send behind the blackboard.

And even today, history repeats itself, because the blue track seems to suffer more from the passage of athletes and becomes more and more selective, descent after descent. Make a mistake and you fail, end of story. Guns firing, gunpowder, the challenges continue one fuse at the time, and falling, because in every single run someone has to greet the caravan, takes less than a blink of an eye.

Like our Luca De Aliprandini, who first eliminates one of the remaining favourites, the Swiss Marco Odermatt, by just a hundredth; then in the quarterfinals, against the German Alexander Schmid, he falls, gets up, rushes for the finish line but still takes a bullet, for only 6 hundredths.

Two hundredths here, and two hundredths there, Sergio Leone would have been proud of this interminable series of rustic duels, all heart-pounding, which even if not leaving injured, the only real crime is that sooner or later they will have to end.

In an all-Italian duel Marta Bassino eliminates Federica Brignone and flies to the semi-finals, back to back, like in the 19th century: you count ten steps and then off, whoever wins wins. In the end, 4 on each side arrive, and it is immediately Mexican stalemate: whoever makes a mistake dies.

Among the men in the final for the gold we find Mathieu Faivre, French, and that wild madman Filip Zubcic, known as Zubo, who seems a reincarnation of Terence Hill in “They Call me Trinity”: handsome, show-off, talented and proud, proud like 4 million Croatians. They will continue to call him Trinity, but not from today, because the winner is Faivre, the Frenchman, who is the last man standing with the barrel still smoking, the barrel of the gun. Third, the Swiss Meillard.

But if you want real drama check out the girls. Two hundredths difference? Four? Six? Beginners! Because Marta Bassino eliminates the great buccaneer Tessa Worley in the semi-finals and in the final, draws with the free-range Austrian Liensberger. A combined time difference of 0 seconds and 0 hundredths.

Same time here and there, you couldn’t even do it on purpose, she still has the best run of the day but the draw is sufficient to crown both of them parallel world champions. She’s good Marta. Gold for Faivre, Bassino, and Liensberger, silver to Zubcic, bronze for Meillard and Tessa Worley.

A day of Italian glory and gunpowder for a discipline that really kept us on the edge of the sofa and that celebrates three crazy golds for Marta, Katharina and Mathieu, also because, as the master Sergio Leone said: “the world is divided in two categories: who has a loaded gun, and who digs. ”

Today everyone digs. All but the two of them.

“The Championships Diary – Day 9”: 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