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Olympic Games Tokyo 2021: Interview with flag bearer Sal Craviotto: “When it’s not fashionable, keep your feet on the ground”

Olympic Games Tokyo 2021: Interview with flag bearer Sal Craviotto:

Fame, great fame, came to him on television in 2017 when he already had four Olympic medals hanging from his neck. Now he arrives in Tokyo at this Friday’s inauguration as a Spanish standard-bearer and as a symbol, the most famous canoeist of all time.

Sal Cravotto during a training session.
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In Gijón, on the beach in San Lorenzo, girls and grandmothers run because they want a photo; go salt craviotto On a walk with family. No canoeist was ever so popular, but curiously no one talks to him about shovels: starters, desserts, sauces are commented on. Fame came to one of the best Olympic athletes in history after winning four medals, two of them gold, for winning another, this one in Reality. In 2017 he conquered MasterChef celebrity and his life changed. It became the image of dozens of brands and thus came to the Tokyo Games, where it would also be a symbol: that of Spain, opening on Friday (at 1:00 in Spain) as well as the standard-bearer. miria belmonte. In search of her fifth medal, perhaps her sixth, she runs to El Mundo over the phone.

He has already gone to three games and in all three he was on the podium, talk to him about nerves now …
I live it differently, it’s true, but the nerves are always there. Since I received the national team clothes at the beginning of the month, I have already noticed the bug, I already smell like sportswear, but now I wear it well. It has been the most complicated preparation with whatever happened because of the pandemic, and it remains only to compete.
So: Saturday August 7, 5:19 AM, Spain against Germany, in four kayaks, for 500 meters. One of the game’s moments.
The whole K4 project has been great. I’ve had individual medals and medals in pairs, but it’s been teamwork, getting together, hard, but very, very good. Then the duel with Germany has multiplied the challenge. In recent years, in all competitions, we have always argued for gold in favor of it, until the last World Cup. [en mayo] we won. There is nothing more dangerous than four wounded Germans, they must have trained like animals in these two months, but we are ready. Nor do I want to forget the rest of the countries.
They have a very close duel and at the same time, have a certain friendship with one of them.
yes, with Ronald Rouhe I have a great relationship, we text each other, we send each other photos. An excellent sportsmanship. I already competed against him at the 2008 Beijing Games, won the gold medal in K2 and he won the silver. Then at the Ro 2016 Games we shared bronze in K1. We’ve been beating each other up all our lives, but it’s always been a healthy feud.
Friday afternoon opening. As a flag bearer, I know I will have passion.
More than the competition, it annoys me. Being a flag bearer is the maximum an athlete can aspire to be, is no more. It is a huge responsibility, something symbolic, I cannot describe it very well.
“Now I can retire,” he said as he handed them the flag. was he serious?
I could have retired after the Rio Games. or before. If I was 20 years old they told me I’d get four Olympic medals, or just one, I wouldn’t believe it. I have fulfilled my dreams and now everything is extra. I had to be a standard bearer, which is milk, and I’ll see that later.
Do you think the Paris Games want to make it to 2024?
It is possible. Right now I’m in a strange phase: the body tells me I’ve come to Paris, but the head tells me to spend more time with my family. I have to think about my wife and my two daughters. I know being an elite athlete is not easy. I leave every day at seven in the morning, I come back every day at seven in the afternoon and when I come in I need to rest, not on the swings, or to color or do puzzles. I do, sure, but I do it exhaustingly. I want to put myself in them.
When he was appointed standard-bearer, he also spoke of a special dedication …
All Olympians have the same mind. After what I have experienced, I am going to the Games to bring happiness to the people, Spain. Everything I do, whatever I achieve, is dedicated to those who have had a tough time with the pandemic.
In the harshest days of imprisonment, you went back on the streets patrolling like a police officer, just as you are.
Yes, yes, but I don’t want to highlight it, I’m ashamed. I didn’t feel comfortable with the hero label he had put on me. I have just done my job as a policeman. Nurses, cashiers, scavengers… there were a lot of people working like me. I did nothing more, if anything less.
Before the pandemic, television fame forced him to switch roads and move on to other jobs in the National Police. How do you carry that popularity?
Naturally. It is true that I have got more recognition from the public, but it has not been a revolution either. They stop me on the street, or when I go to the movies with my daughters, but people are very respectful.
It is curious that after winning four medals he has become famous thanks to a reality show. Now they don’t stop the rain of advertising campaigns.
You have to understand the phenomenon. MasterChef is a program that many people watch, my daughter Valentina, like my mother, is hooked. It weighs a lot. I reached a very wide range of people with the program, which was very different from canoeing, even sport. But advertising is based on fashion and now I am riding the wave. If I get a medal in Tokyo, surf a little more, otherwise everything will be quiet. When it’s not fashionable to put your feet on the ground.
Back on patrol?
Sure. I am a policeman, this is my profession because I passed the exam at the age of 19 and will always be. My passion is canoeing, but when I’m done, I’ll go back to work on my own, of course.

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