Athlete of the Month - July 2019
Italian sculler Luca Rambaldi became a World Champion for the first time last year – in the men’s quadruple sculls. The 24-year-old nature-lover tell us what his plans are next – and how about how another sport is also very close to his heart.
World Rowing: How is your 2019 season going so far?
Luca Rambaldi: My 2019 season didn't start well but as time goes by I'm getting better and better and I hope to get to Linz (World Rowing Championships) in top form.
WR: Do you feel extra pressure now that you are World Champions in the quad?
LR: Being World Champion surely puts pressure on you but, in the end, when you're in your boat at the start you are just like the others - you've got to do your best.
WR: Tell us about your crew – how do you all get along?
LR: Our crew is composed of four athletes with strong characters and sometimes we have arguments but our goal is more important and, every time, we get back on track together
WR: Why did you take up rowing?
LR: I tried many sports as a child. Then I saw a leaflet advertising rowing on Po river in Ferrara where I live and my parents decided to let me have a try to see if I might like it. I was nine years old and I loved it right away. I was fascinated to get in contact with water and nature. I keep rowing because I like to put myself to the test. I’m always trying to improve myself and, so far, I'm pretty happy with the results.
WR: Where do you train and what is it like?
LR: During the winter I train in Sabaudia because of the mild weather. During summer training I stay in Piediluco where our Training Federal Center is located. Sometimes we train for short periods in Varese, which is my favourite location for training.
WR: What is your biggest rowing goal?
LR: To get to my biggest goal ... I've got to overcome some tough challenges!
WR: How do you prepare on race day? Do you have any superstitions or rituals?
LR: I'm not particularly superstitious. On race day during the warm up, I try to repeat things that made me feel better during training to be ready to get the best performance. I try to get to the rowing venue at least two hours in advance then I start a long and slow warm up session.
WR: Are you a full-time rower?
LR: I am a full time rower, I am part of the Military Team “Fiamme Gialle.” It's my job.
WR: You seem to be a keen cyclist. How often do you cycle and what do you like about it?
LR: I really love cycling, even if my body weight is about 100 kilos and climbing with the bicycle is sometimes so hard.I love it for the same reason I love rowing - straining and suffering make me feel alive! I love also cross-country skiing and alpine skiing, but I've got less chance to practice them compared to cycling.
WR: What else do you do when you are not rowing?
LR: When I'm not rowing I try to relax watching movies or TV series. When I train with national team, whenever I can I like go to the mountain, far away from chaos, to try to find some peace and calm.
WR: What is your favourite food?
LR: It's difficult to answer precisely - here in Italy we have so much great food. If I had to choose one, I'd pick one of my city's traditional foods "Cappellacci di zucca al Ragù". It's a kind of fresh pasta stuffed with pumpkin. It tastes half sweet and half savoury.
WR: Which sports person do you most admire?
LR: I admire very much US skier Lindsey Vonn, because of her talent and perseverance. She’s got through many – and major - injuries during her career but every time she’s got back to the top. As a rower, recently I had the chance to meet a true legend, Greg Searle. He's been very friendly and he shared with me some engaging and eye opening anecdotes. Greg, you're a great person, I really appreciate you!