Neither illness separated him from his passion, only death did. Jesús Morlán died at the age of 52 in the Brazilian town of Lagoa Santa because there he had taken his life from his native Pontevedra. And his life was not only canoeing, but making champions. He did it with David Cal, whom he molded to make him the most successful Spanish Olympic athlete of all time. Then, after the summer of 2012 in London, after three Olympic Games and five medals, Morlan attended the call of the Brazilian Olympic Committee to turn building from scratch one of the most powerful teams in the world. Cal tried with him that adventure, but the wear and tear invited him to return and to the retreat because he was not going to train with another coach. Suso Morlan, who was stubborn and persevering, made new champions in strange land. "Brazil is an illusion, like when you have a new girlfriend," he said at the time of leaving. There he was. Two of his rowers Erlon de Souza and Isaquías Queiroz took the podium at the Rio Games and now aim for Tokyo. Since they started working with Morlan, they have won thirteen medals in world championships.
Meticulous, methodical and at the same time expansive in his way of expressing himself, Morlan formed for years a perfect tandem with Cal, who had an unshakeable faith to the point that every Monday the technician delivered a note with the clothes he had to take to training. every day of the week. Without more details about the work. "One of David's values is obedience," summed up Morlan, who was a man-orchestra, even designer of the canoes that took them to the podium in Athens and Beijing before support the most advanced military engineering to squeeze a few tenths of a second in London, surely decisive. He played all the sticks in the preparation and he did it with the help of a collaborator who presented to the visitors as the Japanese, in reality the chronometer. With him he measured rhythms and times and he did it with that point of disbelief characteristic of the good Galician. "I call him the Japanese, but in reality it's not even that because he puts made in the USA. With him there are only abolute truths and the milongas and the apologies are over ".
Cal did not have them, but there was some doubt. He was a fourteen year old cadet when he started working with Morlan and earned a place in the national team. But a bad experience in some concentration took him back to Pontevedra. "I was determined to abandon canoeing and I had not trained for a week, but then Suso and the president of the Santiago Sanmamed federation showed up at my house. They offered me to work alone in Pontevedra only with Suso and I accepted, "he recalls. It was in 2007 when Morlan gave all his talent to that shy boy, very obedient and with a tendency to gain weight if he did not work, but when he applied it was a bomb. "I train one guy and I do not get the hours of the day," he explained.
"He leaves us an irreplaceable person who led us to success with a methodology created by him", values Paulo Wanderley Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. Before he did it for the Spanish sport, which he left with a point of disenchantment. "We spent years saying that the wolf was coming and in the end the wolf came and it's called Brazil," Morlan explained shortly before attending the offer to cross the pond. He was in the pay of the federation, but his emoluments did not stop going down, also the means to work. "The damn crisis and budget cuts …" he lamented.
Just two years ago, shortly after taking his Brazilian pupils to success in the Olympic Games, he underwent a surgical operation after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. That stake did not beat him. A week later, he was coordinating the work of his canoeists on the other side of the computer and shortly thereafter renewed a contract until the Tokyo Games. There he was going to leave, he had promised his seven-year-old daughter, who lives in Colombia with his mother. This weekend Alfredo Bea, president of the Galician canoeing federation, chatted with him on the phone: "Do not notice anything strange. It seems incredible that, not even twelve hours later, we received the news of his death. " Lauro de Souza, one of his assistants in the concentration of Lagoa Santa did not expect such an outcome either. "The news has hit us. He did not complain about anything, "he explains.
With Morlan, there is a winner, a retailer who linked canoeing with mathematics, a builder of graphic work on winds in race channels that gave him references that he kept as a treasure, always a neighbor to Japanese and the computer in which he dumped all the information. Any shared it in "David Cal. 100 days for the story", a diary that ended up publishing and in which he described the preparation of the last Games in which they formed a couple. "I keep his image holding the billboard in hand and the shoulder strap he always wore to keep the notebook in which he wrote down every detail", says Cal.