The Great Gregorio – 1995/1996 World Water Ski Racing Champion

Stefano Gregorio´s persistence lastly secured him the crown he was disadvantaged of it in 1993 – The World water ski racing title. Born on 22nd December 1966, this 29 yr previous Italian appeared all the time destined to turn into a profitable athlete in a single respect or one other.

Stefano grew up in Como, Northern Italy along with his household -a brother Piero and sister Adonella. Although he started water snowboarding at 7, he was already gifted in lots of different sports activities.

At 10 he had efficiently entered his first water ski competitions in slalom, tips, soar, barefoot and racing! His journey to the World title started when he determined to go for ski racing.

It was his coach, Augusto Luoni, who gave him his outstanding type – harking back to a wild bull ploughing by all the pieces in its path. He was at dwelling on tough water. His heroes had been the gifted Italian Donato Trezzi and Britain’s personal former World title holder Steve Moore MBE. The Jolly Racing Club at Lezzeno was the place he skilled to ultimately make the Italian National group in 1987.

Over the previous few years, Stefano and Britain’s Darren Kirkland have dominated ski racing in Europe. They have shared a stage of calibre which might be in comparison with that of Britain’s Danny Bertels. He has extra National and European titles beneath his belt than might be counted on 2 palms. Not solely a World title holder, however he has received Australia’s Botany Bay race and brought a 2nd within the Bridge-To-Bridge. He has received the Giro del Lario and the “Diagonale des Fous” – a race over 2500 km! Gregorio is unquestionably, a reputation which shall be remembered.

So on the age of 20, Stefano proudly joined his National group. He turned European Formula 2 champion with a minimum of 9 consecutive victories all through Europe. In the French Grand-Prix, this promising teen not solely received the F2 class, however he completed forward of each skier in F1. It stays one of many favorite races of his lengthy profession.

His first shot on the world title was on the age of 21 in Australia, when managed a wonderful 2nd place within the first race and an total fifth on the finish of all of it. Two World championships later, he completed a reputable third place in Darwin Australia. But it was at Vichy, France in 1993 that he proved past a shadow of a doubt, that he was a most unbelievable ski racer.

A judges determination on his driver’s motion nonetheless, resulted in a penalty which dropped him to third place. Stefano advised me “the entire World fell upon me – it was not truthful”, however he fought on.

In August 1995 his persistence paid off nonetheless, and he received the World Title at Belgium. He says, “I felt free. I feel I deserve it. Now I really feel satisfaction for my profession”.

But this very good skier labored onerous for his place on the rostrum. Daily his coaching would include an hours biking uphill adopted by loads of stretching and a 10 minute jog. Later he would ski for 15minutes on a pair of skis adopted by 50minutes of excessive velocity tough water snowboarding on a race ski, ending off with a quick run.

On his 6 yr previous DC race ski, utilizing DC bindings, he beat the remainder of the world and eventually claimed what he felt he had earned. When he returned to his dwelling village at Lezzeno, there was an awesome feast held for him. The complete village was there. A automobile parade befell, flags had been flown and his title was portrayed throughout the village partitions. Stefano advised me “I used to be moved – extra excited than throughout the Worlds themselves”. Here had been his individuals, sharing in his triumph.

He has now retired from racing himself. With his spouse Patrizia Sala, he’ll now calm down and plans to open his personal ski-school in April. He has the perfect spot at his father’s restaurant, which is situated on the sting of lake Como. He’s a eager soccer participant and can proceed to play for his non-professional group and assist Parma AC. But he additionally needs to have the ability to assist children in ski racing. He says “the game deserves to be saved alive, for I had so many joys from it I’ll always remember”.

When I requested him what he has loved about his years as a ski racer he answered, “I loved the peace of thoughts and pleasure of life us racers shared earlier than and after the races. And in fact, the races themselves, which gave us feelings one can not describe”.

He believes that, as in any sport, there could possibly be enhancements. Firstly in security, additionally in judges, selection of race venues and in boat management. Stefano needs to assist the children within the sport and he sends a powerful message out to them: “Do not rush for F1, higher wait in F2 until the second comes. A fall in F1 can break a profession. Form a very good crew who’re completely dedicated to you the skier”.

Now he sees 2 rising abilities from Europe as Britain’s James Cramhorn and the Italian teen Fabio Scarpini. Looking at 1996, he believes Carlo Cassa and Darren Kirkland are European favourites.

He went on to say that it is Kirkland who he admires most within the World of ski racing, and I quote – “he is so unfortunate, however he by no means will get down. He’s nice!”.

Many individuals know of the crew and group who supported Stefano. His skilled driver Furlan was first charge. There was Ivan Pellolio, Roby Zucchi and his team-captain and brother Piero Gregorio.

His spouse, the numerous different individuals who stood by him and the Italian Federation, all obtain thanks from this worthy title holder.

By Robbie Llewellyn (1996)

With because of GianLuca for translating