Ice, short track: Sighel, the future of skates is blue

The 21-year-old son of art at the World Cup last weekend in the Netherlands won three bronzes: “We’re growing up again”

Six years: it took a long time for the Italy of ice sports, all disciplines included, to return to win a world medal. The last, after a streak of 11 consecutive seasons, was the bronze of the women’s short track relay in Moscow 2015. Then – in the middle the four high points of the PyeongChang 2018 Games – only close to podiums. Until the world championship in Dordrecht 2021, back on the short track, last weekend. From which the blue team of coaches Frederic Blackburn and Assen Pandov, thanks also to the absence of the great South Korean and Chinese specialists (why deny it?), Even returned with a silver and five bronzes. Thanks to Arianna Fontana, more and more queen. But also of Pietro Sighel, an athlete who is reductive to define revelation.

What an escalation

The 21-year-old from Trentino from Baselga di Pinè has exploded to unexpected levels in recent weeks. First, in January, with the three silvers at the European Championships in Gdansk (in the 500, in the general and in the relay), then in Holland, with the bronze medals in the 500, in the 1000 and in the relay. It was from the 3rd place of Nicola Rodigari in the 1500s of Milan 2007 that the men’s Italy missed the appointment. It is true that Pietro, at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Montreal, had worn two bronzes around his neck. But no one could foresee such exploits among the greats. “I believe that the leap in quality, in addition to a normal maturation – he says – is due to the fact that, since May, we have been followed by the trainer Carlo Varalda in the national team: the work in the gym, first performed without specific programming, has given important results . And for me, from December 2019, it is very important to be in the Fiamme Gialle ».

On the frozen lake

Pietro, with a diploma as an electrician in the drawer, grew up with the Sporting Club Pergine in the footsteps of his father Roberto, a giant of the long track with in his curriculum, in addition to much more, five Olympics (from Calgary 1988 to Salt Lake City 2002), four medals world championships, including 1992 all-round gold and a world record of the hour. «Like him, like grandfather Mario, the Italian champion of the 3000 between the fifties and sixties and like many in our area – he says – I started skating at the age of 4 on the frozen lake of Pinè, a stone’s throw from home. Until 2019 I divided myself between the two specialties: the first photo posted on Instagram in 2014, portrays me with Sven Kramer, king of the 400-meter ring … And if I’m here now it’s thanks to the teachings of my father, one who Italian sport should exploit ».

In family

Arianna, three-year-old older sister, is also blue in the short track: on Sunday she was in the quartet of the bronze relay. «We train together – he explains – in the past, with dad, even by bike or on wheels. We live in Baselga and in Bormio, home to permanent federal rallies, because of the virus, I share an apartment with her. Covid, in October, hit practically the entire national team: with a calendar that saved only the European and World Championships, starting again was hard. But these results give impetus to the whole group and I am not satisfied ». Pietro, canceled the Absolutes in Bormio scheduled for the weekend, will now allow himself two-three weeks of rest. “To spend with Alice, my girlfriend – he smiles – and, pandemic permitting, enjoying our mountains”.

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Ice, short track: Sighel, the future of skates is blue

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