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Pier Davide Romani

Shani Davies? Pleeezzz. Give me a break. This guy is more like Will Smith, and a movie star he might be as well, if he chooses to. Well, not a Hollywood one perhaps, but he does not lack talent in certain areas…

Who transmitted this skating virus to you?
Let’s say that I allowed this passion to swept me away, so I can relieve this personality of mine. When I was a child, I hated team sports, being so individualist and selfish. Skating was a good therapy: I started alone but soon I realized that alone you don’t go far…

Hey! Don't blow on my neck!

Wow, that was deep. You are a student: tell us about it.
I’m soon to become a lawyer. Boy, being an elite athlete and going to the university at the same time takes a toll on you, I swear. I’m not sure when, but I’ll get my degree.
So your scholar activities had something to do with your so-so results in the last couple of years? Or was it women?
Yeah, maybe the university. In 2004 with Hyper I had a less than excellent team, and you know that the WIC it’s a team’s effort, so I was not very excited with WIC races. Last year, on the other hand, the team was solid, but I’ve got a couple of injuries during the season, as well as a couple of the French guys.
So no women at all… What kind of racer do you consider yourself?
One with honesty: a man of principle. Also, one that loves wearing fitness skates and go have fun with amateurs.
Who are your coaches?
Luca Bagnolini and Michele Cicognani. Together we plan the training, they overlook my physical form and force me to follow the programme… sometimes they would distract me so I don’t run away from training! I’ll take this chance to thank them for all they do.

Tell us about your plans for 2006.
Well, I’m back to Bologna (my hometown) on a stable basis, so I can have the chance to concentrate in the training session as well as the studies. Having my mates back on Team SALOMON, I can focus on results. From last year I got back my aggressive willingness to compete, in spite of the race I’m in: I’ll compete with the same disposition a World championship or a regional race. I’m not a picky guy, you know.

Nice wine (but plastic cup)

People generally have an incomplete mental image of what being an elite athlete means: please enlighten them.
It takes sacrifice, as in every sport. In our case, it is a job so you must be always top notch and ready to travel. You get used to most kind of sacrifices, but I don’t think that never going to a disco until 5 in the morning or avoiding a beer now and then makes a “professional”. It just takes some balance between personal life and sport.
4 x 100, 4x110 or 5 x 90?
4 x 100. I have a very small foot, so no 5 x 90. Moreover, I would have an agility problem, and that’s bad for me. Agility is everything.
Mariani, Bellotti, Boen? Or do you prefer foreign products?
Mariani has the best boots in the market. I started my career with Cavalli, a notorious Italian bootmaker, higly regarded in our country. As for wheels and frames, there are too many excellent products out there.
Marathons underline the fact that speedskating it’s a teams sport? Do you agree?
Absolutely. More so in the bigger teams, where you’re able to see different kinds of “specialists”: the chaser, the sprinter, the bodyguard and so on… In general teams tend to protect the sprinter so he can burst in the final 400 mts, but it depends on the dominant ingredient of every team: some will be unbeatable in the final sprint while other can only rely on a breakaway victory.
Another hidden aspect of WIC marathons are "groupies". Do you confirm de existence of these girls that follow you guys with rock-star fanaticism?
Oh, yes. It’s something really raunchy. Screaming loud at the departure line, throwing flowers that mess up our wheels, sending champagne bottles to our hotel rooms, leaving sexually explicit messages on our phones… Disgusting. And a nice dream too!
Name the 3 things that you love the most. After skates, of course…
Hanging out with friends, dance and cinema.
Again, no women. What’s wrong with you, my man? Go on, tell us who’s the sexiest skating girl in the world...
(He ponders the question for about 3 hours). I’d say there are quite a few nice looking skaters, but most of the time, the sexiest ones are the spectators!
Mmm, not really diplomatic, but sincere. You said that amateurs are a very important component of our sport. Would you do one of those social-recreational events like Max Bavieri’s >>?
Certainly! I did it many times, and will continue again and again. If I could find the time, I would always be on my skates!

If we produced and directed a skating version of the film “The good, the bad and the ugly”, what part do you want?
The Bad, because it implies a personality. It’s better to be the bad one and to be hated, rather than be the nice one and suffer people’s indifference. Besides, why just accept the dull and obvious?

The "bad", uh?

You have to be a FIRS bureaucrat for that. And if,perchance, tomorrow you get offered FIRS chairmanship… What will your first measure be?
Send all those old farts to retirement.
Well done! Among the young italian hotshots, who do you think will be stars?
Falcone and Bellia are sure bets, Naselli could be but he needs to grow a brain first.

Pornwood: Nominated as Best Equipped Actor

Who’s your favourite skater?
Chad, even if his behaviour outside the races is really “unconventional”, not finding a better word. He could be the best skater of all time and one of the best athletes of all sports, if he just was a positive role model also without skates.
Nobody’s perfect, Pier. Thanks, and get your practice quickly, because with this line of interviews, sooner or later we will need your services! As a lawyer, I mean...