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The music you're listening is "Paradise", by Stratovarius

Tears of joy

Susanna Marchesi's impressions after the sixth place in Osaka

by Luciano Montanari

Leant against the wall of the subway linking the competition-field to the training gym, Susanna Marchesi is weeping bitterly. "I really couldn't stop - she remembers - because of the excitement. A great excitement, never felt before. I remember I had finished the competition and leaving the arena I saw my score on the video, but I didn't mind the position. I was proud of my performance, my marks were good, too. I thought I repeated the same places, 12th, 13th, 14th place. Instead, everyone arrived happy, congratulating. The coach Olga Boujanova tells me I'm 6th. I couldn't believe, couldn't realize what was happening to me, the only outlet I felt useful was weeping and hugging everyone."

Sixth in the world, no Italian acted this way during the World Championships. "Another satisfaction, an important thing, many people underlined it".

Susanna Marchesi What about the most beautiful moment, the most touching?"Apart from the one one of the discovering about the 6th place, surely the final prize-giving. Before the parade, the ceremony staff prepared us according to the results. It was a great joy finding myself near Elena Vitrichenko, my idol, arrived 5th. Both of us were weeping, I was because of my happiness, I was still incredulous, she was because she didn't reach the podium."

Susanna analyses the competition that took her so high, one step to Paradise. "I was physically fine, my preparation was good and I felt sure, well concentrated. I was happy entering the floor, people were warm, loaded and I was willing to express everything I had inside. Compared to other competitions, I did my best. I have to thank the technicians, especially Olga. There's a wonderful relationship between her and me, and it's very important. She's a clever woman, who succeed in getting what she wants, using different methods, according to the situation and to the person. She was able with me as well, and I haven't got an easy temper... When I don't feel like training, I am not able to. I remember that, once, arrived to the gym for the training, I told her I didn''t feel like rehearsing my routines. She told me not to worry, I would have worked in another way. She made me run all around the gym, then use the weights. Next day - Susanna smiles - I preferred doing my routines. We liked her way to introduce herself when she arrived: 'Girls, you come to the gym to work, manage your free-time by yourself'. They've been holy words, especially for me and Laura (Zacchilli) that are 19 right now. The collective life is less hard, and especially we feel ourselves more responsible".

In Osaka she didn't worry about the jury: "I never thought about it, I only thought about a personal satisfaction, for me, for the audience, and for who I knew was at hojme watching me on TV. I did the most, as usual, and I'm glad that this time it met a good result".

Future is keeping new and greater responsabilities for Susanna: "I'll continue as I did until now. I'll change some routines, ribbon and ball. I'll try to repeat my result, even if I know it'll be difficult. The adversaries are more experienced, and especially more used than me to get good scores. I hope to go to Sydney, the Olympic experience is everyone's dream, I don't know what will happen later, I could even stop after the Games. I have to think about my life, I want to live it after so many sacrifices. I'm old enough to think about my future. I'd like to remain into the gymnastics"

The celebrations, started in Japan, continued at home, in Arezzo. "We had a dinner with the Petrarca society. I received many presents. One of them, by my coach, Manola Rosi, was a balloon. On it there was drawn a globe. Manola drew an arrow, that linked Italy and Australia, with the 'This is the way to Sydney' writing. In the basket there was a Nutella jar: she promised it to me before I left, when I had to follow a strict diet, if I would have done well in Osaka". It can be forgived.

Laura Vigna & Roberta Diglio