Carlo Molfetta: “The Olympic gold was the beginning of a dream”
Carlo Molfetta (15 February 1984, Mesagne, Italy) is the captain of the Italian Taekwondo National Team. After being the European Champ in 2010, he got bronze in the next continental tournament and in the 2011 World Championships, and it started to seem like his brightest days were right behind him. Nothing further from the truth, his greatest glory was yet to come with the gold medal in London 2012.
Q: 2 silver medals and 1 bronze in World Championships, 1 gold medal, 1 silver and 2 bronzes in European Championships… Was the Olympic medal the only thing missing on your track record?
A: It definitely was the main award missing on my track record, and it also was what I wanted the most. Winning the Olympic gold was truly a dream.
Q: Your most recent achievements before competing in London were the bronze medals at Gyeongju World Championship 2011 and Manchester European Championship 2012. Were you confident on making such a step forward and taking the gold at the Olympics?
A: I could not be sure about that. All I knew is that I did a good preparation. All my staff; physiotherapist, fitness coach, psychologist, doctor and coach did everything they could to get me in the best shape possible right before the Olympics. I’ll always be grateful to them.
Q: Tell us a bit about your performance in London. After a relatively comfortable first round match, you really struggled to beat the Chinese representative in the Quarter Final. Were you nervous during the final seconds of the match and in the extra period?
A: I was very nervous. But I could handle that for the almost the entire fight. It was just that I had a lapse of concentration in the final seconds and nearly lost because of that. Luckily, I got focused again and could get to the golden point period and eventually win with only a couple of seconds left.
Q: Do you think that winning such a close match helped you to manage similar situations in the semifinal and in the big final?
A: It surely helped me to win in further fights. It also made me realize that I couldn’t make any mistakes. The physical difference between me and my opponents was huge.
Q: Did you know much about Obame before facing him in the final?
A: Not really. I just knew he was a good athlete, besides, it was the Olympic Games final, it couldn’t be any easy. Anyhow, I always respect my opponents.
Q: Once you finished the extra period of the final with 9-9 in the score, Were you confident on the officials awarding you the victory? What did you feel after that decision?
A: I knew I had attacked more than Obame. But of course, this is very subjective and the judges could think differently. At the end, when I had finally won, I thought it was the beginning of a dream. The most beautiful dream I could possibly imagine: I was an Olympic Champion.
Q: Have you noticed an increase in your popularity in Italy since then?
A: Yes, sure, I am more famous. Some people recognize me on the street, which makes me excited and proud.
Q: How do you see the future of Italian Taekwondo?
A: I think it has a good future. I can improve a lot as many children are practicing
Taekwondo. I am very confident it will grow even more.
Q: Do you still work as a policeman?
A: Yes, I am still a Carabiniere. And I want to be it forever. I won’t be able to thank them
Q:How do you see yourself in the future, will you still be linked to Taekwondo?enough for letting me train without any problem.
A: Right now, Taekwondo is my life. I will think about my future when I retire. Now I just think of the Olympics 2016 in Rio.
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