Gennaro Talarico

I’m trying to make adults. Create people with sound principles, who live their moment with passion, that can serve them in their life. I just try to pass on to others what I have achieved.

Gennaro Talarico

For many years, one of the faces of Italian Karate, Gennaro Talarico was a member of the famed Fiamme Gialle, one of the most successful Karate teams. He has won multiple medals at World, European, and National levels.

Gennaro Talarico was born on 23 October 1965 in Lamezia Terme, in the south of Italy.

Talarico began learning Karate at the age of 12. He and a group of friends joined a dojo near his home. They trained under Antonio Navarini.

By 1982 Tallarico had achieved the rank of brown belt. He had started to compete regularly in kata and kumite.

1982 also saw Talarico become engaged to Patrizia Giodanengo. They had known each other since childhood.

In 1983 Talarico won his first Italian title at a junior level. Two years later he received his first selection to the Italian National Team.

Talarico was contacted by Claudio Culasso, the Technical Director of the Fiamme Gialle, in 1986 to be a member of the team. The Fiamme Gialle (Yellow Flames) was the sporting team of the Guardia di Fianza, the militarized police force of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. By joining the team, Talarico was able to become a professional athlete. He stayed with the team for two years.

In 1990 Talarico returned to the Fiamme Gialle Team. Around this time he also became a stable member of the National Team.

On 8 November 1990, Talarico represented Italy at the 10th World Championships held in Mexico City, Mexico. He won a bronze medal in the -75 kg Men’s Kumite.

1990 also saw Talarico marry his fiance Patrizia Giodanengo.

In 1993 Talarico won his first European medal, a bronze at the 28th European Championships held in Prague, Czech Republic. He competed in the -80 KG Men’s Kumite event. The following year he lost to Wayne Otto in the final of the -75 kg Kumite event at the 29th European Championships, held in Birmingham, England.

Talarico was named captain of the Italian National Team in 1995. On 5 May of that year, he reached his second successive -75 kg Men’s Kumite final, at the 30th European Championships held in Helsinki, Finland. In a repeat of the previous year’s final, he lost to Wayne Otto.

In 1996 Talarico reached his third successive -75 kg Men’s Kumite final, at the 31st European Championships held in Paris, France. Again he lost to Wayne Otto of England. Later that year both men competed at the 13th World Championships held in Sun City, South Africa. Otto won the title, with Talarico winning a bronze medal.

Talarico won his first senior European gold medal on 8 May 1998. At the 33rd European Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia, he defeated teammate Salvatore Loria to win the -75 kg Men’s Individual Kumite title. Later that year he won another World Championship bronze at the championships held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the -75 kg event.

On 20 May 1999, Talarico retained his European title at the championships held in Euboea, Greece. The following year we made another European final, in Istanbul, Turkey. This time he finished in second place.

In 1998 Talarico was elected to the Federal Council of Athletes as an athlete representative. He was re-elected in 2000 and held the position until 2004.

2001 was an excellent year for Talarico competitively. On 11 May he won the European title at the championships held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Later that year, on 18 August he won gold at the World Games, held in Akita, Japan. He won the -75 kg Men’s Individual title.

In 2001 at the age of 36 Talarico retired from active competition. By the time of his retirement, he had also won six golds at the Mediterranean Games and 23 Italian National titles (15 individual, 8 team). His major competition successes include:

  • World Games – Individual -75 kg Kumite – 1st place (2001)
  • World Karate Championship – Individual -75 kg Kumite – 3rd place (1990, 1996, 1998, 2000)
  • European Karate Championship – Individual -75 kg Kumite- 1st place (1998, 1999, 2001)
  • European Karate Championship – Individual -75 kg Kumite- 2nd place (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000)
  • European Karate Championship – Individual -80 kg Kumite – 3rd place (1993)

Around 2002 Federico became a coach for the Italian Federation of Judo, Wrestling, Karate, and Martial Arts (FIJLKAM) Youth Karate. His role was to help the next generation of competitors. Apart from his coaching role, he also attended the University of Bologna, where he studied Economics and Commerce.

In 2006 Talarico started thinking about setting up his own Karate team. In 2011 he established the ASD Talarico Karate team. He initially started a team with 70 students.

The team was located close to the Juventus Football Stadium. In its first year of competing the ASD Talarico Karate Team was ranked number seven nationally. Over the years the team has risen in rank to be one of the most successful teams in Italy. Students from the team have won numerous titles in kata and kumite. Members of the team have represented Italy at European and World levels.

In 2013 Talarico donated some of his competition memorabilia to the Sports Museum of Turin. He donated a Karate gi, a World Championship medal, and a competition belt, that was displayed in the martial arts section of the museum.

The Fiamme Gialle Day took place in 2016, in Castel Porziano, around 24 km outside of Rome. Claudio Culasso was the Technical Director of the team from 1984 to 2016. Over that time many team members such as Talarico, Davide Benetello, Lucio Maurino, Luca Valdesi, and Giuseppe Di Domenico, had gone on to represent Italy at an international level. A special training session took place to celebrate the success of the Fiamme Gialle.

In January 2020 Talarico was awarded the rent for 7th Dan.

On 1 October 2021 Talarico began a new role as the technical contact for relations with the National Technical Directorate and the Youth Technical Commission. On 1 December he also became the President of the National Technical Directorate and the Youth Commission of the FIJIKAM – Karate section.

Gennaro Talarico and his wife Patrizia live in Venaria, a district of Turin, with their two daughters.

As a competitor, Gennaro Talarico represented the Fiamme Gialle and the Italian National Team with great dedication. He has taken the same dedication and is influencing the next generation of Italian talent.

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