Gianmarco Tamberi: the high-flying showman battling lengthy leap’s superheroes

Judging by his athletic depth, his unchained exuberance and his ‘practice arduous, celebration arduous’ strategy to competing, Gianmarco Tamberi isn’t a person for half measures. And but his signature look when excessive leaping is a half-bearded, half-shaved face.

Apparently, there’s a methodology to the Italian showman’s insanity. His track-and-field look — GQ Journal as soon as ran an merchandise about his unconventional grooming habits titled “Don’t do that” — isn’t merely superstition. It’s a ritual that helps him enter ‘the zone’.

“In competitors, the one factor that may be a should for me is to have enjoyable and make the viewer have enjoyable,” he as soon as mentioned in an interview, explaining his facial-hair model. “When I’ve enjoyable, I calm down. That’s why I began with this half beard, half shave. And that grew to become in time an enormous superstition. It additionally turns into a second for me, within the mirror, after I shave, I take into consideration the competitors, I take into consideration what I’ve to do. It turns into an enormous second for me earlier than the competitors.” 

Human spotlight reel: You’ll be able to’t take your eyes off Gianmarco Tamberi, whether or not it’s his flamboyant athleticism on the monitor or his humorous antics off it. Right here, he leaps over a Method 1 automobile earlier than the Italian GP in Monza.
| Picture Credit score:

When the magic occurs

This second of meditative introspection is the calm earlier than the storm. For when he’s in a stadium, he’s pushed by the feelings of the gang, each feeding it and feeding off it. “I like when I’ve the gang near me, I like this sharing of feelings,” he mentioned. “Once I go to the stadium, that’s the place the magic occurs — the competitors begins, I’m an adrenaline man.”

This was in proof once more on the latest World Championships in Budapest, the place the flamboyant 31-year-old, carrying one inexperienced sock and one pink, claimed his first World title and leapt into the water hazard of the steeplechase in wild celebration with Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, who had simply raced to gold within the males’s 3,000m steeplechase.

The triumph meant Tamberi now has a full assortment of excessive leap golds, having additionally captured the Olympic, World Indoor, European and Diamond League crowns.

His sharing of Olympic gold with good good friend and rival Mutaz Essa Barshim was one of the vital memorable, heart-warming moments from Tokyo, however after clearing a world-leading 2.36m in Budapest, the Italian stood alone, to the delight of the raucous Italian followers within the crowd, who chanted “Gimbo! Gimbo!” as he waved his lengthy arms in encouragement.

Now the reigning World and Olympic champion — titles that till August 22 have been owned by Barshim — Tamberi mirrored on chasing “the best jumper in historical past” for greater than a decade. “I do know that I competed towards loopy athletes, like Mutaz Barshim, he’s like a superhero for me,” Tamberi mentioned of the three-time World champion who additionally has the second-best leap ever: 2.43m, behind Cuban nice Javier Sotomayor (2.45 in 1993).

“It’s not straightforward to beat such an awesome expertise. I really feel like a human being who beats superheroes. I stay off these moments. My method to strategy the competitors is to be myself and to precise all of the feelings I’ve inside. Now realising my CV is lastly full, it’s simply wonderful.

“Earlier than the competitors, I went to my staff, my coaches and physio, and mentioned, ‘Right now we aren’t going for victory, right this moment we’re going for historical past’. I needed to write down historical past by profitable gold in any respect the most important competitions. I simply went for it. Loopy, indescribable. I’ve been rewarded for all of the sacrifices,” Tamberi mentioned after a contest during which six athletes cleared 2.33m.

The face that launched a thousand jumps: Tamberi’s signature half-bearded, half-shaved look during competition is both a superstition and a ritual that helps him enter ‘the zone’.

The face that launched a thousand jumps: Tamberi’s signature half-bearded, half-shaved look throughout competitors is each a superstition and a ritual that helps him enter ‘the zone’.
| Picture Credit score:
Getty Pictures

The following objective

Joking that he might finish his profession now that he had received every thing a minimum of as soon as, Tamberi briefly received severe and introduced what his subsequent objective was — however it got here with a caveat. “There isn’t a excessive jumper who received two Olympic golds so making historical past in Paris could be wonderful. I’ll work arduous, not now, however subsequent month. I wish to go all in on this journey. However first, the celebration.”

Maybe Tamberi didn’t get better absolutely from the festivities of celebrating, for he might handle solely 2.28m and fourth eventually week’s Diamond League meet in Zurich, which was received by Barshim (2.36) who was keen to enhance on his bronze at Budapest. However Tamberi was his regular ebullient self, having enjoyable with Indian Olympic and World champion Neeraj Chopra throughout coaching in Zurich after which turning up on the Italian GP in Monza to leap over an F1 automobile!

Tamberi’s Worlds triumph was additionally affirmation for him that his resolution to alter coaches — dad Marco had been his coach till days earlier than final 12 months’s World Championships, when he switched to former Italian excessive jumper Giulio Ciotti — was working. 

The transfer had raised questions final 12 months, and Tamberi referenced it at the same time as he made some extent of acknowledging every thing his father had accomplished for him. “Many had doubts concerning the change of coach, the gold can also be due to my father,” he mentioned.

Certainly, it was Marco, a former excessive jumper who reached the 1980 Moscow Video games ultimate, who satisfied a younger Gianmarco to offer the self-discipline a shot. {The teenager} wasn’t eager and spent most of his time pursuing his ardour for basketball — his jaw-dropping dunks and drives to the rim in final 12 months’s NBA All-Star Celeb Recreation proved that that point wasn’t wasted. 

However at 17, he received a national-level colleges occasion with out ever having skilled within the excessive leap and realised that maybe his father did have a case in any case. Apart from, Tamberi knew he would have bragging rights for all times when he ultimately surpassed his father’s finest. 

“From 2009 to 2012, my solely objective was to beat my father,” he mentioned. However he didn’t instantly recognise the second, for the one-upping leap got here on the 2012 Bressanone Italian Championships throughout which he cleared 2.31 for gold. When it dawned on him the following day, Tamberi recalled what was at stake. “I remembered he mentioned to me, ‘Whenever you beat me, I’ll give 100 euro’. I’m nonetheless ready for that, he by no means gave me.”

Brothers in arms: Tamberi and three-time World champion Mutaz Essa Barshim have built a strong, warm bond despite competing for long jump’s biggest prizes. At Tokyo last year, they shared Olympic gold in an emotional, historic moment.

Brothers in arms: Tamberi and three-time World champion Mutaz Essa Barshim have constructed a robust, heat bond regardless of competing for lengthy leap’s largest prizes. At Tokyo final 12 months, they shared Olympic gold in an emotional, historic second.
| Picture Credit score:

Associates, rivals, history-makers

The pursuit of Barshim has been each bit as fulfilling and considerably extra rewarding for Tamberi. The 2 males share a robust bond, having fun with the opposite’s successes at the same time as they compete for lengthy leap’s largest prizes. Paris 2024 might nicely be their final main showdown, the 32-year-old Barshim saying it will likely be his ultimate Olympics. 

Each males are wanting ahead to the Video games, hoping to script a second that may add to their historic, emotional 2021 one, when Barshim uttered the immortal phrases, “Can we’ve two golds?” after the 2 couldn’t be separated. For the primary time since 1912, an athletics Olympic gold was shared. 

“Sharing with a good friend is much more lovely… it was simply magical,” mentioned Tamberi, whereas for Barshim it was “past sport”. They could by no means be capable of match the magnitude of what occurred that evening in Tokyo, however when you could have a showman taking up a superhero, the probability of witnessing one thing actually particular may be very excessive.

Tamberi can’t wait. “At all times suppose you could have an opportunity, go for it,” he mentioned, describing how he’ll strategy Paris. “By no means surrender in your desires.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *