Julio Velasco, together with another volleyball legend Angiolino Frigoni, surprised the participants of Cornacchia World Cup in Pordenone 2023.
“It is difficult for a mediocre volleyball player who grew up in the myth of Julio Velasco to talk about his first personal meeting with him.
I remembered him from the first victory of the Italian national team at the 1989 European championship, when I had the clear awareness that he had managed to make Italy emerge on a world level in a so-called “minor” sport, such as volleyball (especially in a country where the football is almost a state sport). But I had only ever seen it on television.
Before 1989 we all saw Russian, Cuban, Bulgarian and Eastern European athletes as authentic physical monsters impossible to beat. Suddenly, with the advent of Julio and his philosophy (not just gaming) we managed to catch up with them, compete on equal terms and even beat them, in an unprecedented escalation.
After many years and editions of an international youth tournament dedicated to my father Ferruccio, founder of volleyball in Porcia (in a small town in Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the even smaller province of Pordenone) I received news that Julio was coming to Pordenone to follow the Italian men’s youth team that would participate in our tournament.
Great news which, however, shortly preceded disastrous news; the Covid 19 pandemic arrives and all sporting events scheduled for 2020 are cancelled. It even seemed like a joke. We get back up in 2021, with a lot of effort and a stringent protocol and with a dream that seemed to have vanished.
But in 2023, again thanks to the participation in our tournament of the Italian youth men’s national team, Velasco keeps faith with the promise made years before and despite having just recovered from a small operation on his foot, which limits his movements, he comes to Pordenone accompanied by Angiolino Frigoni, another legend of Italian volleyball.
The emotion for everyone present was great but for me it was enormous. The beautiful words expressed by both him and Angiolino regarding our tournament will remain forever imprinted in our memory, and in my heart.”
Tiziano Cornacchia, patron of Cornacchia World Cup