The Olympic Games in Tokyo may have been a few weeks ago, but Nino Pizzolato’s memories are far from fading.
These were the first games for the Italian and in the end, there was even a medal hanging around his neck. Nino Pizzolato describes his first contact with the barbell as love at first sight. At the school of the then 13-year-old, a weightlifting training was organized, in which he participated – and he knew immediately: weightlifting is his sport.
For years he trained hard – and that paid off. At the Junior World Championships 2015 in Wroclaw, Poland, he won silver in the -85kg class with 154kg in the snatch and 193kg in the clean and jerk. Also in the following year, he came in second place in this competition but increased his snatch by five kilograms and his clean and jerk by eight kilograms compared to the previous year.
“Nutrition is an important component”
In 2018, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) changed the weight categories. For Nino Pizzolato, the reason to rethink his previous weight class – up to 85kg. “That presented me with a difficult decision. My coaches advised me to lose weight. So I consulted with a nutritionist to see if it would be possible to lose four kilograms.” After an analysis of the fat-muscle ratio, the Italian then decided to change the weight category and start in the -81kg class.
The now 25-year-old changed his diet and paid close attention to what and how much he ate. “The first few weeks were the most difficult, but over time I got used to the new diet.” Pizzolato was able to maintain the intensity and volume of his training and sometimes even increase the weights. “ Thanks to the decision to change the weight class, I have noticed that a good diet leads to a better workout and I can even recover better. “
Since then, the Italian pays attention to his diet and attaches great importance to what he eats. “I now know that a good diet can change everything and that it is an important part of my performance in addition to training and regeneration.”
European champion and first Olympic participation
The change of weight class paid off. At the European Championships 2019 in Batumi, Georgia, he won gold with 155kg in the snatch and 201kg in the clean and jerk. Two years later, he repeated this success. In Moscow, Russia, this time he brought six valid attempts on the stage and took first place with 164kg in the snatch and 206kg in the clean and jerk.
However, the bronze medal in Moscow should not remain the only one for the 25-year-old. He had also qualified for this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and for these he had set himself big goals. “I trained hard for the Olympics and my goal was to win them, even though it was my first participation.”
However, Nino Pizzolato started his first games with difficulties. He could only manage to validly bring two out of six attempts to the platform. In the end, however, it was enough. With 165kg in the snatch and 200kg in the clean and jerk, he won bronze in the up to 81kg weight class. “By participating in the Olympic Games, I have fulfilled a dream. And then to win a medal is like a miracle that every participant hopes for.”
Prepare for the next competitions with more determination
Even though the Italian has fallen short of his expectations, he enjoyed every moment in Tokyo.
For Pizzolato, the bronze medal is the best result of his career, but his ambitions are far from being satisfied. “I am now preparing for the next competitions with even more determination. Also because we have shown that Italy can fight for the medal places.” His compatriot Mirko Zanni had also won bronze in the -67kg weight class.
Now Pizzolato is preparing for the upcoming World Championships in December and there he wants to have the next medal hanging around his neck.