Mattarella to the Gazzetta: “I play for my Italy! I supported Bartali at the Giro. I miss tennis, I love volleyball”

Tomorrow, the President of the Republic will award the winner of the pink race at the Fori Imperiali: “Sport is emotion and fun. But it is also education in community life and forms aware citizens. Among the many champions I have known, I would like to mention Zanardi: he suffered and reacted I send him a big hello”

Pier Bergonzi

He is the President of all. There is! For everyone. At the beginning of his second mandate he decided to “be there” even more. He goes where he’s never gone, he does things he’s never done and his popularity has never been so high, so natural.

At the age of 81, President Sergio Mattarella has opened the door of the Quirinale to the world. On Monday he was in Alessandro Manzoni’s house in Milan, on Tuesday he received the delegations of Inter and Fiorentina, on Thursday he saw the President of Angola, yesterday that of Albania and today he will be in Barbiana, at the gates of Florence for the centenary of don Milani , that of the school open to the poor, that of the slogan “I care”, I take care, I take care … Here, in his mission as President, Mattarella “takes care”. And as soon as his presence won’t hinder the rescue efforts, he will go to the flooded areas of Emilia Romagna.

Tomorrow he will be at the Giro d’Italia to award the pink jersey in the sumptuous setting, unique in the world, of the Imperial Forums. On this occasion he agreed to talk about sport with the Gazzetta.

President, what is the value of sport for the country?

Sport is many things together. It is emotion, fun, health. But also education in community life. A way to form aware citizens. Sport in our country has had, and continues to play, an important role in building a shared memory and, in this sense, of a significant component of our collective identity. Our history is also made up of moments, results, characters who have represented pages that are not forgotten. Each generation remembers its own. Personally I remember the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Bartali, Coppi and Magni, the victories of Baldini; the young athletes of the Rome Olympics, in 1960, with the exciting victory in the two hundred by Berruti, with his dark glasses. The style of the D’Inzeo brothers. And then, over the years, the successes of Sara Simeoni, the records of Pietro Mennea, the power of Abbagnale, Italy Germany 4 to 3, the World Cup in Spain with Sandro Pertini bringing the champions home.And again the voices that have told these feats, transforming them into legends: Paolo Rosi, Giampiero Galeazzi, Nando Martellini and many others. Or the pages of true literature that great journalists such as Brera, Mura, Clerici, Minà wrote about those moments. Up to the most recent victories, to the many protagonists of our days. A story that continues, keeping the same charm intact, arousing passions and emotions that go well beyond the perimeter of the stadiums and become cultural heritage”.

What sports have you practiced in your life?

“The tennis racket has accompanied me since I was a boy and I am still sorry to have interrupted decades ago. Like all my peers I played football even if my role was usually that of the bench, precious … because it allowed me to provide advice. Not me I also regret it because now I’m obliged to support the referees…”.

Is there a sports page or a great champion that you remember in particular?

“I have already mentioned some of the great sporting achievements. Witnessing the recent victory at Wembley, with Italy as European champions, was an emotion and a source of pride. As were some of the triumphs of our girls and boys from many national teams: in athletics, from swimming to skiing – as if to say from the sea to the mountains – from fencing to volleyball, from Bebe Vio to Paola Egonu.I have no reason to hide that, whenever possible, I follow volleyball and its successes. However, let me mention a great sportsman, Alex Zanardi. A person who suffered and who always reacted. I remember his smile, his optimism. Zanardi testified to what sport really is: first of all, the joy of to live. I send him a big hello”.

Zanardi testified to what sport really is: he has suffered and has always reacted

Sergio Mattarella

Sport, together with school, is the area of ​​greatest sociality…

“Yes, it’s true. Sport has an extraordinary social value. I have seen it directly on several occasions. One of the first commitments of my second mandate was the inauguration of the Campo dei Miracoli in the Corviale district of Rome, organized by the Calcio association I observed – there as in other places, in every part of Italy – the commitment and passion of those who, by promoting sport as an educational opportunity, offer many young people who live in contexts at high risk of marginalization, a path of growth, integration and legality. More generally, the combination of sport and school serves to train the citizens of tomorrow”.

Sport is respect for the rules par excellence.

Sport is respect for the rules, it is respect for others, it is a challenge not against opponents but against one’s own limits. Sport is certainly also competitive spirit, competition, but above all it must be respect and loyalty. When it loses these characteristics it loses its charm Let me recall two recent, well-known examples that also struck me. Two stories of young Italian fencers. Emilia Rossatti, 22 years old, engaged in the final of the Italian Under 23 epee championship, gave up shooting in the last seconds of her match because her opponent was injured. A choice that cost her victory and a place in the European Championships but which remains of great value. Mariaclotilde Adosini, on the other hand, 18 years old, engaged in a match in the Under 20 World Cup against a The French athlete did not want to take advantage of an error by the referee who had handed her the victory: she returned to the platform knowing she could lose, which happened: it was her victory and that of the sport. friendship, dignity of gestures are worth much more than a victory. I want to thank these girls for setting an example. This is authentic sport, the true antidote to fanaticism, factionalism, violence, and unfortunately also racism, which too often pollute our stadiums. Poisons that have nothing to do with sport».

Sport is an antidote to the fanaticism, violence and racism that too often pollute our stadiums

Sergio Mattarella

What is your earliest memory of the Giro d’Italia?

“The radio commentary of an epic alpine stage of the Giro d’Italia in 1949. I was eight years old and then the radio was the only means of communication in real time: ‘One man alone in command…’ was Fausto Coppi. The voice was by Mario Ferretti from Pinerolo. Exciting, even if I was definitely in favor of Gino Bartali; which, in any case, didn’t stop me from being happy for the hour record or for the Coppi World Cup”.

Tomorrow the Giro will end in Rome and she will award the pink jersey.

“Yes. The finish line is very close to the Quirinale: I could never miss it”.

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