Thursday, September 20, 2012

THE COUNT AND THE PRESIDENT

Modican fencer and Olympic gold medallist Giorgio Avola, known in his home town as Il Conte, was among the 80 Italian Olympian and Paralympian athletes received by President Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale yesterday.

The President conferred the Order of Cavaliere di Gran Croce upon Coni [Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano] General Secretary and Head of  the Italian delegation to the London Olympics Raffaele Pagnozzi and upon fencer and six-time Olympic gold medallist and 2012 flagbearer Valentina Vezzali. During the ceremony Valentina Vezzali and Paralympian flagbearer Oscar De Pellegrin  returned the tricolore carried at the London Olympics Opening Ceremony to the President.

President Napolitano said,

"I warmly welcome Coni President Giovanni Petrucci's idea that our athletes are one of our best made in Italy products, helping Italy to become known and appreciated all over the world. They are the result of dedication and the contributions of so many people, in Italian provinces both large and small."

Speaking about the modernisation of sport in Italy and referring to the country's tendency to favour what we would call in Britain "jobs for the boys", Valentina Vezzali said,

"I'm not sure if Italy is ready to scrap [the old ways]. An inexperienced young person on their own gets nowhere. But sport is a meritocracy in which no one gives you anything."

Well said, Valentina!

The Italian Male Foil Fencing Team wins gold in London, 5.8.12.
Left to right: Valerio Aspromonte, Andrea Baldini, Andrea Cassarà , Giorgio Avola
Image: Conad Scherma Modica via facebook

5 comments:

Nicholas Temple said...

Eccellente!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

It was good to hear that they were honoured by the president.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, I think it is, Nick. Hi, LindyLouMac. Yes, they deserved it.

RNSANE said...

Well deserved accolades for your Italian athletes.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Carmen. Yes, they did well.

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