23/07/2020   Moscow 24 July 1980: the legend of the "dandelion"



In the language of flowers, the "dandelion" symbolizes strength, hope, trust; also known in Italy by the name of "tarassaco" deriving from the Greek "tarake" which means disarrangement, turmoil and from "akos" which means remedy.


The legend of these flowers sees them protagonists of stories of dreams and desires, the young lovers used this plant to give them their hopes and their loves and blowing the seeds (achenes) in the wind decidedly, they imagined that they could come true.


What we want to tell you today is the story of a young Italian from Scarnafigi in the Granda Province of Cuneo who 40 years ago resisted the turmoil and disturbance finding the way to the realization of his great desire for victory: the Olympic one.
To tell it on time we borrowed the story from an important pen of Italian sports journalism, Giorgio Cimbrico.



July 24, 1980, the first day of athletics in Moscow, the time when the Olympics is starting to get serious, say the "suiveurs" with a deep and obstinate affection. A title put up for ythr prize, that of the 20km walk. It's hot and the Mr. Cav. Pino Dordoni says it doesn't seem like a day for Russians or Germans and then goes to look for a good place along the course that slips along the Moskva River and reverses its course towards the greenery that surrounds the Lenin.

Before the start, a flashback: Daniel Bautista came from El Salado, a plateau connecting three states of Mexico. He was walking so fast, so frantic that four years earlier, in Montreal, after becoming the first to win a gold medal for his country, he swallowed ten cans of liquids before recovering. But it was not the camel's ability to strike as much as his ability to hide the "sin" of lifting from the judges. He became a special guard.
"A curious detail, without a coincidence - recalls a protagonist who enters the scene, Maurizio Damilano - Bautista was trained by a Pole, Jerzy Hausleber, and in Poland, in approaching the Games, he had his first disqualification". Knowing that he was attracting the attention of the jury, Bautista did not go wild with the gunshot, attempting a solitary adventure. It was not a "dynamite" gait but still good for fraying the group and forming a head trio: the Mexican, the Ukrainian in CCCP jersey Anatoliy Solomin (a fellow of the Piedmontese model, Vladimir Golubnichy) and Maurizio with bright red cheeks.
What seems to be the turning point comes at the 16th km: Bautista's pace becomes pounding, frenetic and the advantage over the two adventure companions immediately becomes about fifty meters. "Calm down and don't give up, Dordoni said to me", Maurizio remembers. At that moment he must also suffer Solomin's attack.
Images that remain clear even forty years later: "On the roadside I see a group of people: Bautista is also in the middle". Burn out by the judges. At that point the 18th is not far away: Solomin is just ahead and "I'm going to pick him up when they put him out of the race too".
Lenin's marathon door is not far away. "I'll go in and say to myself: will it be done?" Yes, and very widely: a minute and ten on Pyotr Pochynchuk, almost a minute and a half on the Roland Wieser (DDR). And an Olympic record, 1:23:35, a good minute on the winning time of Bautista in Montreal, the largest victory in a 20km from that of Ken Matthews in Tokyo.



Maurizio celebrates with his twin Giorgio, eleventh. The telephoto of the two faces side by side poses some problems in the editorial offices that have few links with athletics: who will be the winner? It is a pity that Sandro, creator and master of a family legend or a family that has become a legend, is not in the frame.
One aspect that will be told is that in February Maurizio Damilano was still wearing the red and blue shirt of the Army Sports Center. Shortly after an indoor race, at the Palasport in Genoa, he took his leave without imagining that that "passage ceremony" would prove decisive. For the 23-year-old from Scarnafigi, the walk on Moscow could proceed without political hitches.





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