Interview with Eli Pinedo

N.: A colour.
E.P.: Green, especially on the eyes.

N.: An aroma.
E.P.: Freshly washed laundry.

N.: A texture.
E.P.: Beach sand between your toes on the first day of summer.

N.: A destination.
E.P.: Costa Rica. What an amazing country and the people there are the best! Pure life!

N.: Do you prefer night or day? Or does it depend on what for?
E.P.: Almost always day. Nights get feverish, although if there’s a full moon I stay up with her.

N.: How did you decide that this was what you wanted to do?
E.P.: I didn’t decide. One training session followed another and before I knew it I’d become a professional athlete. It was what I wanted to do and I always felt very privileged to be one; I love handball.

N.: A day you’ll never forget.
E.P.: The day they hung the Olympic Medal around our necks at the London Olympics. What an adrenaline rush! Years of sacrifice and hard work flashed through my mind in less than 20 seconds, that’s imprinted on my memory forever.

N.: A project you’d like to work on.
E.P.: I’d like to give a voice to our Spanish athletes through a TV programme. They are pure inspiration and talent; it would be high quality content for our homes and families.

N.: An athlete you admire.
E.P.: Michael Jordan and Rafa Nadal. The first breathed talent from every pore, a genius. The second is a global inspiration and we were neighbours in the Olymic Village in Rio de Janeiro. He’s great!

N.: A person close to you that you admire as well.
E.P.: My mum was and always will be my role model. I’d be happy to be half what she is; she’s the best.

N.: Choose a part of your body and tell us why.
E.P.: Let me see… does my hair count? I think I’ll pick my mane; it’s very docile, it responds to everything I do and it embellishes me a lot.

N.: Something that really excites you.
E.P.: Music and sport excite me. They are two worlds that I always like to put together, where there is no division of races or ideals or gender and all of humanity come to an agreement to enjoy them. When I retired from professional sport, a band I admire wrote me a tweet that said, “#GraciasEli for creating bridges between sport and music. Never retire from concerts.”

N.: A dish that makes your mouth water?
E.P.: Seasonal vegetables. Eneko Atxa excels at them at Azurmendi. You’ve got to try them!

N.: A musician you always take with you.
E.P.: Vetusta Morla always goes with me. I love their songs, as they know.

N.: A place in Alava or Madrid that we mustn’t miss out on.
E.P.: Although I’m from Alava and I live in Madrid, I lived in Donostia (San Sebastián) for over 10 years, so I’ll recommend a place there, though it’s hard to choose just one. The Peine del Viento [Comb of the Wind] by Chillida is my favourite spot in the world. If you go to Donostia, make sure you visit it; alone or in company, it’s magical.

N.: Eli, athlete (how would you define yourself)?
E.P.: Throughout my sporting career, a phrase my dad said stayed with me: “Talent makes you stand out, heart makes you transcend.” I was a committed warrior and above all a heartfelt warrior.

N.: How did you discover Naguisa?
E.P.: Through Instagram. I read your brand philosophy and fell in love with it. Taking care of the planet is one of my principles; we only have one.

N.: Your favourite Naguisas?
E.P.: CIMA, without a doubt. I’ve already got them in two colours. They’re fantastic and so comfortable.

N.: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add? Any message to send out to the universe or to someone in particular? This is your moment to do it…
E.P.: I’m doing this interview just as we’re beginning to slowly emerge from the pandemic, very keen to live, to be happy and, above all, not to forget all the lessons that lockdown has given us: that the most important thing in life is health, having family close and enjoying the little things. My best wishes for everyone!