Sunday, November 28

Jordi Llopart and his apostles

  • On Sunday the great marchers of history meet in El Prat de Llobregat to pay tribute to the first great star of this athletic specialty.

  • Dani Plaza, Josep Marín, Chuso García Bragado, Mari Cruz Díaz, Reyes Sobrino and Valentí Massana, among other figures, will not fail.

Jordi Llopart He had disciples, apostles who knew the religion of the march thanks to his teachings. A year ago he left, but his sports gospel remained like a writing walking on the asphalt since in 1978 he became the first athlete to win a gold medal in a European championship; he gained much more fame when two years later he won silver at the Moscow Games. It happened before beginning to implant its doctrine; in converting, for example, to Dani plaza in Olympic champion of Barcelona 92, until he retired in Canet. A year ago he died after a choking. But you do not forget. This Sunday they pay him a tribute in El Prat, also in memory of his father Moses. There will be almost no one missing among the great stars of the Spanish march.

“He was a special person in my life. When I was very young because I wanted to be like him. I wanted to imitate him. He advised me to the point of becoming my athlete ‘brother’ and then my coach in the final stretch of Barcelona 92. He motivated me to the gold “, account Dani plaza (55 years old), one of the stars who this Sunday will march for a kilometer in tribute to Llopart, from 1:20 pm from the Sagnier del Prat sports center.

Will not miss Josep Marin. The rivalry between Llopart and Marín reached levels typical of the great stars of a football classic. Such was the competition that they even stopped talking, although everything changed when they both left. Marin (71 years old), European champion and world runner-up, in the 80s of the last century, glossed the figure of Llopart as the great driver of international change in Spanish athletics. “He paved the way for the rest of the walkers. Having him by my side, and trying to win him, was an extra point in my sports career.”

Chuso Garcia BragadoThe 52-year-old ended his time as a marcher at the Tokyo Games, after having attended eight Olympic events and 13 world championships, with a title and three runners-up. He will also march in El Prat. “I had already been evicted as an athlete when Jordi he became my coach. He convinced me to believe in me. It made me approach the march in a different way and then the medals arrived. “

Mari Cruz Diaz (52 years old) became the youngest European champion in the history of Spain at 16. “Without him, and without his father Moses, none of us would have existed. Sharing equipment with him gave me security. ” Nephew kings (54 years old), European champion on the indoor track in Budapest in 1988. “He was my reference in the Spanish team and he will always be missed.”

Valentin Massana (51 years old) was another of the great world marchers who will not fail in the appointment of El Prat. “He had such a refined technique that even today the main international walkers should imitate,” says who was world champion in Stuttgart (1993) and a bronze medalist at the Atlanta 96 Games.

Teresa Palacio (63 years) was a pioneer among the marchers. “They called me the ‘Llopart feminine'”. Several times champion of Spain shared training with Jordi at the command of his father Moses. “One time Llopart Father told me: ‘until you sweat blood I will not have mercy on you’. At that time Jordi it was impossible to match. “

“I started when I was 7 years old and my family told me that I should look like Jordi. At that age, I didn’t understand anything, but I told myself that I must be someone very important if I win medals. I was always surprised by the elegance he had as a walker, “he says Eva Perez (46 years old), who participated in the Sydney 2000 Games.

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Apart from being a walker, he knew how to instill teaching. “We got what he proposed to us. He was very perfectionist with the technique. He was my advisor, but also my friend,” he recalls Emilia Cano (53 years old), who participated in the Barcelona Games. “I met him in 1978 after asking for an autograph. We always said the same thing: ‘we are enemies in competition, but friends in life’. I even learned Spanish to understand myself with him,” he says Raffaello Ducceschi, 59, who represented Italy at the Los Angeles and Seoul Games.

“The best thing is that his legacy lives on. He taught me and many of us how to walk, not only with a firm march in the competition, but in life. That is why on Sunday I will walk a kilometer with the spirit that he instilled in us,” he confirms Basilio Labrador (54 years old), fifth in the 50 kilometers of the 1993 Stuttgart World Cup. They are the friends, the ‘apostles’ and those who made a reference of the march.

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