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Massi Presti


If speedskating was football, he would be Rooney.
If speedskating was Hollywood, he would be Tom Cruise
If speedskating was business, he would be Bill Gates.

O' Rei

Have you ever seen him closely on a race? The swiss call him “the flying fox”, and they might be right. He whooshes at 50 km/h among 100 kilo gorillas without breaking a sweat, rides the pack wave as a hawaiian surfer, sees the trouble coming a full minute before the adversaries. I heard young skaters (even world champions) at the end of a race exclaiming with high regard: “Have you seen Presti! Amazing!”.
In my job I’ ve got the chance to know world class champions of many sports: I know a couple of football players carrying an ego as big as San Siro and their brains contained in their scrotum… Great champions possess instead a couple of common traits: humility and generosity. And first and foremost, they are great men. This is one of them:

Max, you married world champion Simona Vesprini, and a few months ago your first child, Giulia, was born. Having skates in her DNA, she’ll be skating before walking, right?
Yes, I think so!
Your little brother Luca says you’re one of his role models: what do you think you teach him?
Perhaps to take seriously enough the training sessions... But I must say I had something to learn from him too: when he was a junior, on the track he had a way to cut trough the bend like no one else, and I tried to copycat his technique.


I swear I don't know her, Simo! Besides, she's missing half an arm...

And to your father, that still races like a lion, what have you taught?
(laughs) No, he taught us everything. He chiselled in our heads the importance of sacrifice, made us understand that we had to go to bed early because we had training at dawn. And if you were 1 minute late, he would come out with a stick looking for you!


Roger, it's your turn! Or else!

Well, a typical sicilian father, is he?
Oh, yes! We had a time limit at 23:00 hs, because at 7:00 in the morning it was training time. But aside from the duty call, it was a question of personal security. Living in Sicily is not easy, you know…
Right. Does it have anything to do with the current generation of excellent sicilian athletes?
I think that, because of the situation in Sicilia, youngsters take this (and any other) sport as a way of lighten up the reality they live in, an escape from it all. They have a “competitive nastiness” (to call it in some way) that a rich boy from the north of Italy hardly has.
Let’s talk about something nice now: name the sexiest skater of the WIC. And don’t say your wife! (Luca already said that).
Er… let me see… Well, I wouldn’t know. Not one comes to mind: being married, I'm not looking the other women, really.

Yeah, right. You were able to dodge this one as well. Now tell me: what’s your position about being left out of the China Worlds?
About the Italian Federation I have not a single word to spend. There was a rule that I did not follow for the the simple fact that I had to go to Korea to win 10.000 dollars. What was I suppose to do: go to yet another stupid rally, or go another Italian championship to win my millionth medal? I won quite enough titles already, thank you.


Oi, Martignon! Eat this!

What I need is further motivation in races where there is a monetary compensation. And don’t just call me a materialist: I have a wife and a daughter now, a house to maintain. What do you think are my priorities? Nice trophies or the future of my family? So it was my decision actually.
But very different is the case of the other guys that got left out of Worlds. They raced and even won Italian titles this year, but nevertheless they stayed at home. My brother even broke his ribs during an Italian championship! These so called federal authorities made the rule, but not even they respected it, choosing other skaters for the national team.
But what really pisses me off is the fact that all of us (the Prestis, Zangarini, Saggiorato and Romani) where left out even from the World Games, an event we won the right to be since last year!

Political shit spreads everywhere, mate. Around the world, which country do you find more exciting to race on?
Money wise, certainly Korea. For the organization, the landscapes: Switzerland... But on second thoughts, I don’t think one can choose a country above another: it’s the races. That marathon it’s better than this one, for instance. That’s my view.


No,thanks: I don't eat dog (translated for the deaf corean chef)

The season is over, you’ve got one more WIC title. Are you going to race for fun in Buenos Aires?
Maybe it won’t sound nice, but… there’s money to catch! No, really: I always want to win, I don’t like the idea of arriving second or third… even if there are no money prizes.
You are the nº 1. Are you able to live out of this sport?
Let me tell you that there are (especially in Italy) a bunch of ignorants that believe we (the top skaters) give our arses away for just 1000 euros per month.


Stop it Pascal! Don't be an arse-licker!

Those at the very top earn a salary comparable with a doctor’s one, but to be there one needs certain qualities… There are some young hot-shots that after winning a junior world title believe they’re stars, just because they get some pocket money. But we don’t complain anyway. Especially because with a row of victories we can increase notably our salary: it’s like a double salary. Yes, we could live well up to now, even if there is a crisis right now and in the next few years it won’t be possible to earn as much as recent years.
So you see it hard for the future...
The future of our sport is not clear in this very moment. But I’m fine, I’ll continue skating and giving my contribution to the sponsor that believes in me.
To the fans, it’s impossible to imagine a WIC without Max Presti. But when you decide to stop racing what do you plan to do?
I hope to remain in the skating world. I have several ways to take: I have a boots brand in Korea, then perhaps I can stay with Coni (Altherr) inside his organization…
And how about being a coach?
I was coaching for several years an Italian club (Riviera delle Palme) with many continental titles. But you know what is the problem? Parents. They don’t understand the coach figure, they only care about their children. In that situation I’m not able to do my job, so recently I quit, I couldn’t take anymore of that. Obsessed parents that elaborate stupid arguments and embarrass their sons are one of the biggest problems of our sport.

I coulnd’t agree more! And among the next generation of skaters, who do you think can success you on the WIC throne?
Saggiorato has excellent qualities...
Wait a minute: that guy is old enough!
Oh, come on! Luca has great chances, and in the last couple of years he has improved a lot, fixing certain aspects of his technique. Besides, we are a good team, we understand each other at once. Another sure bet could be Francolini...


You can give me back my shirt now, Saggio!

Which one of the Francolini brothers?
Fabio! The other one is too lazy! Fabio can win on a sprint race as well as kick your arse in a points race. He has the stamina, the will to win: I like him a lot, and if he follows the right track soon he’ll star winning WIC marathons.

Ok, Massi. Thanks for the interview, for the National Team skinsuit (you don’t need that anymore, do you?) and the WIC gold medal you presented us with.
Those are not the reasons we were nice this time, you know?

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