The year was 1976. Twenty years after the creation of Also Laboratori, Paolo Sorbini launched a new brand, Enervit. The very name has evident significance, drawn from two Italian words – energia (energy) and vita (life). Sorbini’s vision was crystal clear: produce a product line specifically for sportsmen and women. This was far-sighted back then. Sports nutrition hardly existed and was felt to have little or no impact on performance. In some sports, eating during a race or match was even banned. For example, in a tennis match, during the changeover, the players wouldn’t even stop for a sip of water, and in cycling, the support teams were strictly forbidden from providing their riders with anything to eat.
Power of ideas
Of course, a name is not enough brand success. You also need substance. Paolo Sorbini always strongly believed in science, so he saw it as strategic to build a group of people around the brand that was highly knowledgeable about nutrition and were experts in sport. He wanted to be sure of the scientific bases for the nutrition and use of supplements he was promoting for sport. And these had to hold in the lab and on the track or pitch. Around this time Pino, his son, had another wonderful idea. This light bulb moment was inspired by the famed French sports newspaper, L’Équipe, which was why Enervit’s group of researcher and scientists would become Equipe Enervit.
Theory to practice
The name and goals had been chosen. So now all that was needed was the step from theory to practice. Sorbini swiftly assembled a team of physicians, academics and expert researchers in specific fields to form Equipe Enervit – the Enervit Team. The crown jewel was Professor Enrico Arcelli, the mythical “professor of running” or Prof Corsa as many of his champions – Olympians, athletes and supporters – would call him. He was held in high esteem in Italy and beyond, and without him, Equipe Enervit would never have reached the heights it has.
Always helping top-class champions
In the late 1970s, Equipe Enervit‘s first efforts started to bear fruit, providing medical and scientific support for speed skiers in Cervinia, and for cyclists in the Giro d’Italia, which the team followed for over two decades in the mythical travelling clinic known as Giroclinica. Cycling has, of course, been a sport Equipe Enervit has progressively learnt more about. For example, in 1984, when Francesco Moser broke the 50 km/hour barrier in Mexico City, he was backed by an established group of experts.
Later, the team worked with two giants of Italian football, Milan and Juventus. And they were there for Sara Simeoni, an Olympic champion who soared over 2 m in the high jump, and for Alberto Tomba, the “Bomb” of world skiing. Both these athletes were elected as Italian athletes of the century – and millennium.
Equipe Enervit is also linked to the glory of Reinhold Messner, who climbed all eight-thousanders, Valentina Vezzali, a multiple Olympic fencing champion, Elisa Di Francisca, who was another Olympic champion on the same team as Valentina, and Daniele Molmenti, an Olympic canoe champion. The list goes on, with names like Daniel Fontana, one of the leading international triathletes, and Sofia Goggia and Federico Pellegrino, who took home gold and silver in skiing events at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Perhaps the greatest of all is Alex Zanardi, who won 4 golds and 2 silvers in paracycling at London 2012 and Rio 2016. And then there are all the world cycling champions.
The adventure continues
Over forty years have passed. And in that time, Dr. Paolo Sorbini and Prof. Enrico Arcelli left this world. The team has changed; the spirit hasn’t. Equipe Enervit was and remains a close-knit group that works with champions, helping to write the history of sports nutrition and supplements. Innovation is central to the team. It is constantly striving to help anyone who exercises and looks after themselves.