Daniele Cassioli, the Paralympic phenomenon of water skiing: “I was born blind. But I’m looking for adrenaline”

On show: 25 world titles, 25 European and 41 Italian. And also a football championship with Cremona: “What do you need? Talent and training”

Pietro Razzini

When 25 world, 25 European and 41 Italian titles can be shown on the showcase, you can be sure that you have achieved something unique in your discipline. It is no coincidence that Daniele Cassioli, a nautical skier blind from birth, was nominated athlete of the decade and quarter of a century among sportsmen with disabilities by the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation. A true phenomenon that has chosen water as an element to achieve its successes and has transformed a lack into an added value to be testimonial of positive values: “These are awards that gratify the career, above all because they cover a long-range period of time. . It certainly goes beyond the single victory of a world championship. It is a different feeling because it is not a consequence of direct feedback on the pitch. I can say that I am proud of this appointment because it comes from the specific body related to my sport “.

How did you get to know water skiing?

“My parents brought me closer to physical activity: it was then blindness that made me choose water skiing. If I had had the gift of sight, most likely, I would have decided to play football, basketball, tennis or volleyball. I remember that initially I was looking for an activity with a strong adrenaline component. I have always been attracted to this aspect rather than to sports such as running, swimming or cycling, in which metabolic fatigue is predominant “.

What is your personal podium of the qualities needed to win so much?

“I put passion first, love for sport in general and, in particular, for water skiing. Then character combined with ambition: this means sacrificing oneself to achieve one’s goals and having the constant desire to improve. Finally, a pinch of predisposition: talent must always be combined with the desire to train, both physically and in character “.

Let’s talk about his physical preparation then.

“Away from the races we work more and more on strength and endurance. Approaching the events we try to automate the technical aspect. Not being a professional athlete, in my career I have had to combine sport and work. I am a physiotherapist and I have built up my skills by studying and working with high-level athletes linked to CONI and the world of basketball “.

Have your workouts varied over the years?

“Growing up, you have to take care of your body more carefully, the recovery times increase. You need to be able to accept some extra muscle pain. Fortunately, over the years you learn to listen to your body. It is very useful but it is not the only aspect “.

What other aspect matters?

“Prevention. Post-workout stretching, for example. It is often very underestimated. To classic athletic training I now add pilates, which is important for managing the stability of the lumbar spine, and in-depth warm-up exercises “.

Did studying physiotherapy help you?

“At the base it always takes a lot of clarity: about oneself it is more complicated. The physiotherapist is like the psychologist: one turns to us only when there is a problem to be solved. However, I believe that many times it is preventive physiotherapy that makes the difference. Therefore I fight to give value to this type of professionalism when planning the season of a sportsman ”.

In 2018 he published the book “Il vento contro”: did this volume also serve to have a greater self-knowledge?

“The novel is autobiographical: retracing the past many times serves to resolve outstanding issues. I wanted to extract from my life, useful themes to reflect on. I have always had great respect for the reader. For this reason, I looked for something special inside me to tell, without being too self-referential “.

Do you have any other editorial projects now?

“My second book will be published in early February. He will talk about training in the corporate world: in recent years, in fact, I have developed contents that I have learned with sport and with the difficulties that blindness has put before me. Now I have made them applicable to the world of work. And then there is Real Eyes Sport, the association that helps blind or visually impaired children to approach sports. Some physical ailments are currently limiting me but I want to get back to dealing with them as soon as possible. At the same time I feel like saying that, as an athlete, I still have a few pages to write. I want to give myself one last world championship “.

Current back problems caused her to temporarily abandon football as well?

“In 2019 I won a Scudetto with Ac Crema 1908. Since I was a child I would have liked to play football. I realized this dream at 33. This teaches us that we must never stop wanting to fulfill our desires. I had to confront the beginner’s sensations. With water skiing, I have been master of the subject for years. In football I have tasted dynamics that I lived 20 years ago in my sport. It was formative ”.

Finally, nutrition: how is it managed?

“Water skiing allowed me to be quite ‘relaxed’ from a food point of view. The extra pound has never made a difference. The technical aspect helps to compensate. We must remember, however, that the quality of our diet improves the body’s response and the ability to think. So I’ve always given myself a rule: avoid excesses. This does not mean always giving up everything but simply never overdoing it “.

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Daniele Cassioli, the Paralympic phenomenon of water skiing: “I was born blind. But I’m looking for adrenaline”