We asked Emi Dazza about his experiences as a speed skater and this is what he told us.
How did you start speed skating?
In my birth state of Jujuy, the Mayor built a speed skating track. My brother and cousin started skating, and I followed them.
Why did you choose speed skating?
I was 13 years old and it was the first time I got into racing, and the feeling of winning without anybody being able to invent excuses (because in races the one who crosses first the line is the winner and nothing else), really got me. After that, many years have gone by, and all the time I have found more and more reasons to love my sport. The speed, the technical abilities you have to develop, the race tactics that you learn, etc. I could talk for hours about these things. haha.
How do you prepare for a tournament or competition?
Now, I’m competing in the National League. The training is really serious. For example, I train 8 or 9 times a week. It depends on the week but usually, I have 2 sessions in the gym, 5 sessions on the skates, and 3 sessions running or cycling. I practically train all year this way because I have 4 or 5 tournaments. So when one tournament finishes, I start to train for the next one.
In Cordoba it is really hard to train because there is no track (huge problem) and we have very poor support because it isn’t a popular sport. I’m part of a group of people that, with effort, are developing it. We are creating schools and some race events. From my side, I share my experience and try to be at the best level possible. Always being an example of effort and dedication, which is the key to motivating young children.
My job at Santex has been the perfect fit. The home office gave me the chance to train and compete at a very high level. Currently, I am ranked 5th among sprinters in Argentina and I’m being pre-selected to compete in the National Selection in Buenos Aires to get a spot on the National Team in May. Just being there is awesome for someone of my age who works 8 hours per day.
How many hours do you dedicate to practicing this sport regularly?
It’s hard to calculate, but I think I spend 4 to 6 hours a day.
How many tournaments have you participated in? And which was the most important for you?
I have been participating in national championships since I was a kid. I think one of the most important was when I was a junior and I took part in the national team in a tournament called Conosur which is a competition between Chile and Argentina. It was not big but being part of the Argentina national team means a lot to me. After that, I’ve been to other international championships but recently I participated in the Berlin marathon in Germany in 2016 and 2017, that was without a doubt the biggest and most important race. Racing against a lot of world champions through the streets of Berlin, with a lot of people supporting me was incredible.
Do you have any anecdotes to share?
There are always a lot of funny anecdotes in sports life, but I will choose the best one. It was the usual welcome to a category, it was my first national championship as a Federado, and I was sharing lodgings with some guys from San Juan and Ushuaia. So, one day after a race, they trap me, cut my hair and throw some deodorant and other things on me. It was painful, but now I see it as a funny anecdote I have. Of Course, Now I am the one who welcomes the new ones. haha.
Who is your favorite champion and why?
It’s hard to choose one when I was a kid without a doubt the North American Chad Hedrick was my idol. He was a 52 time world champion, an authentic legend. He changed our sport adding a new technique called the double push, which is now the master technique that a pro must use to skate on a straight line.
But now that I’m older, I have two favorites. First, the Belgium Bart Swings, who is a multiple world champion in middle and long distances, his technique is really special and how he maintains it at long distances at really high speeds is unbelievable. Second, the Colombian Andres Muñoz, he is a sprinter that specialize in the same distances as me. He is great (around 30 times world champion) and one of the skaters that I most studied to improve my own technique.