At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Maurizio and Giorgio Damilano – race walkers

Maurizio won Olympic gold in Moscow


Maurizio celebrates after his victory in the 1987 World Championships in Rotterdam
Maurizio celebrates after his victory in the 1987 World
Championships in Rotterdam
Twins Maurizio and Giorgio Damilano celebrate their 61st birthdays today. 

The former race walkers were born on this day in 1957 in Scarnafigi in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont.

Maurizio won the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the 20km race walk, while his brother, Giorgio, finished 11th.

In sympathy with the American-led boycott of the Moscow Games following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Italian athletes competed under the Olympic flag rather than the Italian tricolore.

Damilano was one of eight Italians to win gold medals in Moscow.

Giorgio was less successful than Maurizio, but did win the 20km race walk at the 1979 Italian Athletics Championships.

The brothers - Maurizio is wearing number one in this picture - often raced each other
The brothers - Maurizio is wearing number
one in this picture - often raced each other
Maurizio was also the 1987 and 1991 World Champion in the 20km race walk. He had 60 caps for representing the national team between 1977 and 1992. He was supported through much of his career by the Italian car manufacturer, Fiat.

He also achieved a world record for the 30km race walk in 1992 with a time of 2:01:44.1, which he set in Cuneo.

Maurizio won two more Olympic medals, picking up the bronze medal for the 20km race walk at both the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

After retiring from competition, Maurizio and Giorgio became coaches at the Saluzzo Race Walking School, created by the town of Saluzzo in Piedmont in 2002.

In 2001, they founded Fitwalking, a programme that focuses on the physical and psychological benefits of walking for an improvement in the quality of life.

Maurizio and Giorgio’s older brother, Sandro, who is 68, was coach to Italy’s national athletics team until 2011. He has also coached Chinese athletes in race walking.

Cuneo in wintertime with Monte
Bisalta in the background
Travel tip:

Scarnafigi, where the Damilano brothers were born, is a village in the province of Cuneo, about 25km (16 miles) south of Turin. Between 1943 and 1945 the city of Cuneo was one of the main centres for partisan resistance against the German occupation of Italy.

The Piazza Risorgimento in Saluzzo
The Piazza Risorgimento in Saluzzo


Travel tip:

Saluzzo, where the Damilano brothers have established a race walking school, is a town built on a hill in the province of Cuneo. One of the most important sights is the Duomo, a late Gothic building constructed at the end of the 15th century. Saluzzo was the birthplace of typographer Giambattista Bodoni and Carla Alberto Dalla Chiesa, a military commander assassinated by the Sicilian mafia in Palermo in 1982.

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