Italy: a lot of medals and different stories from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games
On Sunday September 18th the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games closed with the victory of Beatrice “Bebe” Vio who represented Italy, a country that obtained, at this Paralympics, a total of 39 medals: 10 gold, 14 silver, 15 bronze.
MEDALS AND SUCCESSES
The Paralympic Games was a triumph for the Italian team: the Azzurri made Italy shine and placed in the top 10 after 44 years.
Summarising some of the numerous Italian successes, swimming took the top position for the highest number of medals: a total of 13, four of which were won by the unbeatable Federico Moriacchi. Next was cycling with 12 medals won by 6 athletes, guided by the ex-driver Alex Zanardi, who also won an individual silver medal.
The amazing young Beatrice Vio, at her first Olympics, won the gold medal in the foil (category B).
Italians achieved great results also in Athletics, thanks to the fast sprinter Martina Cairoli, who claimed Gold in the 100m, and Assunta Legnante, who won the title in the Shot Put.
However, the Paralympic Games are not just a matter of the medal tally, but the games are a great opportunity for all the participants to prove their strength and determination.
Here are some of their stories:
Alex: a champion both in sport and in life
Alex Zanardi is a legend in the world of sport: fifteen years ago, while he was driving at the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), he came close to bleeding to death, due to a collision with another vehicle. He lost both his legs, but in a few months he managed to regain his health and immediately started a new path with handbike. At the age of fifty, he still enjoys great success both at the Paralympic Games and in his own life:
«I’m a privileged man with a lot of experience behind me. I’ve realised that the secret is to enjoying yourself and the race because when you cross the line, it is over and you start feeling a little sense of melancholy.»
Monica: from a soldier to an Olympic champion
Monica Graziana Contrafatto, soldier in the Italian army, lost her right leg during a military attack in Afghanistan. During the summer four years ago, Monica was in hospital and while she was watching Martina Caironi winning the London Paralympics, realised that she could also be part of it. This year in Rio they were participating side by side and both brought home a medal.
«My dream came true thanks to Martina. After seeing her competing in the London Paralympics, I decided to start running. During the race, at a certain point I could no longer go on, I was feeling exhausted but I had my eye on the medal, so I couldn’t give up. This is the best day of my life, now they have raise another Italian flag on the podium.»
Beatrice: young, strong and unstoppable
Beatrice Vio is an Italian female fencer who contracted a serious form of meningitis at the age of 11 and was forced to undergo amputation of all her limbs. However she didn’t give up and this year after winning the gold medal her overwhelming joy moved everyone’s heart. Bebe is the first athlete with four prosthetic limbs, who has ever succeded in this sporting discipline.
On her facebook profile, she writes:
«September 4th is officially the best day of my life! The cry that I let out at the end of the competition was a release of all my feelings, all the sacrifices I have
made these years. A big dream has now become an achieved goal. I’ve officially checked it off my wish list. This medal means more than anything to me!»