25/01/2021   Ostia (ITA): walking lesson by Raul Gonzalez



Friday 22 January 2021 - 7.45 pm
Sitting at the table with international judges friends Dolores Rojas, José Dias and Mara Baleani we look through the windows at the gusts of the south-west wind that move the waves of the Ostia seafront in an impressive way. Who knows what it will be like tomorrow.
Gianni Perricelli approaches me: “Nicola, please look at that table. But it is …"
Yes, I tell him, it's just him, we go to greet him.
Two tables farther on a beautiful tanned face stand out two handsome black mustaches (a mix between Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria, which however were white and Iosif Vissarionovič Džugašvili, better known by the battle name of Stalin) and a smile when I say “Hola Raul !”.
He is Raul Gonzalez, a lifelong friend, one of the great names in world walking, winner of the 50km of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, but above all one of the most beautiful technical race walkers ever.
Never a red card against him and never a yellow paddle even though in his time the yellow paddles did not exist and the references were made only by the Chief Judge with a white flag waved in front of his eyes.
In short, a monument of race walking.



Greetings and usual photos because we have to have dinner, and then the pre-race meeting with the jury awaits us
That tremendous vehicle of information that is Facebook already “likes” the photos that someone (me) has seen fit to publish: “Finding a Mexican friend after ten years is priceless”.
After a while my cell phone rings: it's Maurizio Damilano who asks me if he can have a chat with Raul tomorrow morning.
Saturday 23 January 2021 - 9:30 am
I find Raul in the starting area wrapped up like never before and I tell him about Maurizio.
He immediately became radiant in the face: “Let's call my brother immediately”.
I don't know what they said to each other, because I was busy with other things.
Saturday 23 January 2021 - 5.30 pm
The day was long, hard and difficult.
With fellow international judges Dolores Rojas, José Dias and Mara Baleani we sit in the hotel lobby sipping a good glass of white wine that Gianni Perricelli recommended over the phone and Raul goes downstairs.
"Sit down with us" I tell him.
He doesn't think twice.
Thus began a long discussion on the race walk of the past, present and future.
I ask to phone to Cesar Moreno Bravo and Raul punctually calls him.
Raul asks to greet Vittorio Visini who we reach through the phone of a mutual friend (Enzo Fiorillo).
But above all Raul ventures into purely technical discussions.
I don't make it too long.
Race walking for Raul is nothing more than: fluidity, correct movement of the hips (which he calls afloçamento), and prolonged push, certainly not that technical gesture that he defines “paso de la bicicleta”.
All four of us look into each other's eyes and smile.
On my cell phone the ringtone of “Sway” rings, a cha cha cha sung by Cliff Richard in vogue since 1954, even if a few years earlier it was launched by Dean Martin.
It is Patrizio Parcesepe (he alone has this ringtone, to distinguish him from the others in this organizational period that has seen us working together).
I'm coming to greet you at the hotel,” he says.
And me: "Hurry up, we're here to talk about walking technique with Gonzalez"
And he: "Gonzalez who?"
What do you say "Gonzalez who, I do, don't you know who Gonzalez is?"
And he: "Gonzalez the walker?"
And I: "Come on, we're running out of wine and then you have nothing left"
"But it is my myth of when I was walking" says Patrizio Parcesepe.
Five minutes later the same story begins again, but now we have a bottle of Shjraz red in front of us.
Raul insists, rightly so, and Parcesepe also rejoices.
It is time for dinner.
Parcesepe and girl-friend leave with a smile on their lips.
We continue for quite a while until someone says it's time to go to sleep.
In short, a whole day of walking with four and a half hours of competitions, and as many of culture and technique with Raul.
We have given a lot today, but we have received more.
Raul Gonzalez's lesson is priceless is like advertising that well-known credit card.
Thanks Luca, we owe it to you too.