Interview With Luca Presti

Luca chats with his wife trackside at the 2004 World Championships in Italy

Ok, lets get started, for the record what is your full name?
Full name? Luca Presti

Ok, tell me a little bit about yourself, where were you born? where did you go to school?
I was born in Sicily on the 29th of April 1980. I went to school until I was 18 years old, and after… I always stay with the skating

So did you skate much when you were young?
I skated, just skating… then afterwards I changed my life, I moved to Venice, I married last year, I had a child, a boy

Ok, what’s your favourite food?
Food? My wife always makes good food for me… so… I like spaghetti, that is my top food, spaghetti

Do you have a favourite colour?
Ah… I like, umm… yellow. Yes, yellow and blue

What kind of music do you listen to?
Music? Oh, I listen to Italian music, and after… I listen to anything. But first, Italian music

Ok, so how long have you actually been skating for?
I have been skating for 20 years, when I start I was… very small.

So, how did you start skating? How did you get into the sport?
I remember, when I was very very small, five years old, I raced… I won my first race it was… er… 100m. I remember, when I arrived at the finish line, there were many people at the finish line together. I did not know where I could go past, because all the people at the finish line were very close… and I crashed.

Ok, how many world championships have you won?
I have… um… 5, 5 titles, 5 individual ones and one relay

Wow, and how many years have you skated for Italy?
I started in ’98 and every year, I went until 2004. Every year, I got better. Always better.

Ok, so have you always been very good, or did you find it very hard before you could win races?
Ah, well, when I was 18, 17 years old I win, I came second, I came third. When I was 18, I won all. Then after this, I went to senior and I came third, second… I won one time. When I was 20, two times, 21 three times. Each year, with each year that passed, I always win more

Ok, your 300m time trial. Your track time trial from last year’s world championships, which you won. I must have watched it a thousand times. You make it look so easy, how do you do it?
oh, the 300m, it was a surprise for me. My coach… er… at world championships, you are only allowed two skaters per team (per event). I was the third for the time trial. But, in the test in italy before world championships, I win. So coach said, “Luca, you race because you win the test in the clinic.” So I race, I win. I am very happy for this. I don’t think I can win, so this is a surprise for me. I am very very happy.

So when you were skating, what goes through your head? What are you thinking about?
I was thinking, “I need to win the race for my coach”. Because the coach said “I put you in the race – you win”. I listened to him, I raced for him. After the race, he said to me “thank you”.

During last year’s world championships, there was alot of talk on the internet and off, about drugs in skating.
Well, after my race, I did the anti-doping test. So I think people can say nothing about me. Why people say this, I don’t know, I don’t know what’s the problem

No, not you Luca, but other people. Do you think that there are other people in the sport who take drugs?
No, I think not. I think that our sport is clean… well, I hope it is

Ok, onto a lighter topic. Can you remember, in your life, any events which really changed you?
Well, the change in my life… umm… when I moved to Venice from Sicily, when I married, when I had my baby. That really changed my life. Also, before… I was training with my father, now I skate on a professional team. Its very very different

Luca's wife watches over his young son

What do you think of Bill Begg as a coach?
Well, last year, there were a few problems with the team… with stuff, but this year, I look at thim and he is… smiling, relaxed. I think this will be good this year.

Do you think he’s a good coach?
Yeah yeah, sure.

Now, looking back on your life, do you have any regrets?
No no, I never think about this in my life. If I do something… not so good, I think – “well, this is life”. No, no regret

Is there anyone alive/dead, skating/non-skating who you look at as a role model?
I think, er… where I am now, I am young… er… my brother (Massimiliano Presti). My head, is always for skating, I always look for things in skating so… I look to my brother. When he arrived in senior, he won, so I want to do like my brother. I want to be like him, maybe… better

of course, so who would you say was the biggest influence on your life?
My father, definitely. When I was little, in Sicily, my father at 6 o’clock would come to me in bed and say “Luca, Luca, go skating”, always. In Sicily, in the day, it is very hot. In the winter, there is never ice on the roads, you can skate all year. After skating one hour, we come back, get changed and go to school.

Wow, every day?
No, no, not every day. Maybe 3 or 4 times a week. I remember then, I used to think “Oh s**t”, but now I think “Oh, its good” because I never get up early… if my father calls me, I go, if not, I stay in bed.

Do you have any hobbies or do any sports other than skating?
I just… er, sometimes I go on my bicycle. I hobbies… er… internet, electronics.

Ok, now… how many Koalas do you have? You know, those little Koala clips…
Hahaha… why you ask me this?

Because, some people on the Australian team tell me that you always ask for one
yeah yeah, I say “hey, Koala for my sister?”

Do you really have a sister?
Yes, one. I always say “hey, do you have a Koala for my sister” and sometimes the Australian man say “I already gave one to you” so I say “ok, I have another sister”. I probably have 15 Koalas

So, does your sister actually have any Koalas?
Yes, one. Hahaha… I have 14.

What do you want to do after you finish skating?
Oh, later we will go to Italy to do a test to be in the police. Umm… its like police, like… er… national service. The federation helps you get into that after skating, but first you still have to pass the test. But its good that they help me in this, because in this sport, you don’t have a long time. You maybe go until 30, maximum… maybe a little more

If the world were to end tomorrow, what would you do with your time?
Oh… this question is very very difficult… very very difficult. I would… stay on a little island, with my wife. What do you think? Drive a Ferrari?

Hmm.. I don’t know what I would do. That is a difficult question. Finally, do you have any questions for me?

How old are you?
I’m 23

Where are you from?
I’m from… I grew up in Hong Kong, when I was 14, I came to Australia. My parents used to live in Australia, so they wanted me to go to school here

Oh, you live here. ok

Well, thank you very much for the interview, and good luck in the race tomorrow
Thats ok, I’m sorry… I hope you understand what I say, my English is not so good. So, you work for Bont?

No, I just write for my website and I skate…
Do you skate?

Yes, I skate
Will you race tomorrow?

yes, I will race tomorrow, I’ll be racing you

(there is a concerned look on Luca’s face). Oh no, don’t worry about me, I’m a sprinter…
oh, you are a sprinter?

yes, not a very good sprinter
oh, ok…

Luca rests up after the marathon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.