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The 5 best episodes of ''Sfide''

A program that will never stop making us cry

The 5 best episodes of ''Sfide'' A program that will never stop making us cry

Before pay per view took over the sport and Federico Buffa began to investigate Lionel Messi's great-grandfather, it was RAI that had absolute dominance regarding sports reports, and we are not just talking about ''90 Minute''.

From 1998 to 2016 it aired in the late evening on Rai 3 ''Sfide'', a program by Simona Ercolani that talked about sports in the form of an investigation, trying to provide a cause/effect order for each topic and character covered in - on average - fifty minutes of transmission. In the early years there was only talk of football and there were no conductors in the studio, but the narrating voices of Ughetta Lunari, Alberto Lori and Massimiliano Alto alternated but, over time, the program has broadened its horizons so as to assume as slogan "sport like you've never seen it".

From 2012 to 2016, with Sky already owning the television rights of any sporting event on planet earth and with some streaming platforms coming soon - see DAZN -, ''Sfide'' partially changes format, greatly lengthening the duration of its episodes and inserting a real presenter, Alex Zanardi. The latest episodes have no longer had a defined protagonist, but more generally we have talked about transversal and abstract aspects of the world of sport, such as "courage", "limits" and "perfection" .

The only constant from the first to the last episode - in addition to the cover of the program with a smiling child - is the acronym, ''Heroes'' by David Bowie, which brought with it nostalgia and emotion even before the start of the broadcast. Let's go over the best 5 episodes:


They seem to have a special talent, apparently they sold the left part of their body to the devil. There is something special about left-handed people, they are diabolical and brilliant inside and outside sport but there is something that escapes neurological studies and physics experiments. Why are only 10% of the world's population left-handed, while in high level sports they are more than 30%? Challenges tells a particular type of footballer, left-handed footballers. Not simply the players who kick with the left foot, but a real restricted club of athletes who seem illuminated by a similar light. The symbol-stories chosen in these episodes are those of Dejan Savicevic, Beppe Signori, Andreas Brehme, Adriano and Rivelino.



The novel of life and sporting enterprises by Marco Pantani, the cycling champion loved by all Italians. The ''pirate'' of the climbs, for those who love sports, has remained in memory as the champion who has won everything, made dream and given unforgettable emotions. With him, the big stage races are back to being an exhilarating show like in the golden age of Fausto Coppi. "Sfide" tells about all his best achievements. The falls, the rebirths, the sudden descents and the unstoppable ascents. But then comes the day when Pantani's sports tale ends and the tragedy begins, from the doping sentence to the tragic death on February 14, 2004.



Two hours with the champion of Tavullia, a real film that traces his life. Valentino tells himself without brakes in a long interview: from drifting in the quarries with his dad Graziano in childhood, to spectacular victories in the world championship; from the debut with Sport Production to the duels with Max Biaggi in the premier class; from the Yamaha gamble to the exhilarating victories of 2004; from the years of the crisis of 2006 to the final recovery of 2008. The rise, fall and rise of an Italian champion who has already become a myth. Valentino Rossi is one of the greatest riders of all time, eight times world champion in the various classes of the world championship, the only one in the history of motorcycling to have won the world title in 4 different classes, the 125, the 250, the 500 and MotoGP. But Valentino Rossi is much more: he is an extraordinarily communicative character who has managed to cross the boundaries of circuits to enter people's hearts, remaining the simple and spontaneous boy of all time. The end-of-race gags, from the one now famous with Claudia Schiffer to the city policeman of Tavullia, are the sign of an unconventional champion, genius and unruly, who has become the cover star and idol of the crowds.



His blue shirt was able to unite all of Italy. To cross the boundaries of cheering and generations to become a new color: the Baggio Blue. After the defeat of the National team at the South African World Cup, the Football Federation tries a radical renewal of the leadership with the appointment of Roberto Baggio to the Presidency of the Technical Sector of Coverciano. After 6 years of solitude and a life far from the spotlight, that shy and silent man, loved by people perhaps like no other footballer, has returned to accept an arduous but fascinating challenge: to give new life to a football that is deeply in crisis , making use of his long experience in the field.



Alex Zanardi starts from Michael Jordan's symbolic phrase: "Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion". Jordan overcame his limits and fears to become the strongest basketball player ever. Like him, all the protagonists of the episode of Challenges are the testimony that sport can be the means by which a man and a woman manage to overcome fears. For example, Niccolò Campriani tells it, in the final of the rifle in Beijing 2008, he was caught by the syndrome of the last blow. He managed to overcome it and came to the Olympic gold.