We The Italians | Italian sport: The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Italian sport: The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Italian sport: The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

  • WTI Magazine #147 Jan 22, 2022
  • 724

2021 was the golden year of Italian sport. Never in history had Italian athletes conquered so many successes in international competitions in a single year, both in team and individual sports. In 2022 this record will be almost impossible to repeat, but in a few days in China the Italian winter sports athletes will be able to return to make the Italians proud. From February 4 to 20, in Beijing, the Winter Olympic Games will take place and even if Italy does not have a great tradition in snow and ice sports, there are good chances to see several Italian athletes on the Olympic podium.

In the modern facilities built in the Chinese capital, the first and only city to host a summer edition (in 2008) and a winter edition of the Olympic Games, the seventy or so Italian athletes involved in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, snowboarding and ice races will have several chances to win a medal.

Above all, it is the female athletes of the alpine ski that hopefully will give many emotions to the Italians, starting from the supersonic Sofia Goggia, the Italian flag bearer at the Beijing Games. Sofia, 31 years old from Bergamo (Lombardy), won the gold medal in the downhill in the South Korean Olympic Games in PyeongChang four years ago, and in the same year also the World Cup. In January 2021 she won the first two World Cup races, then an injury kept her off for the whole season. Back to racing in December, in fifteen days she won five World Cup races, winning the prestigious trophy of the World Cup once again. She arrives in Beijing as the favorite in all the events, giant, super giant and downhill, and will have some of her national teammates as her main opponents: Federica Brignone, Marta Bassino, Elena Curtoni and also the outsider Francesca Marsaglia. Hopefully, these are the Italian women who will be able to wave the tricolor on the Chinese podium in the alpine skiing, but also some other Italian male athletes will have a chance to medal. They are Luca De Aliprandini, Christof Innerhofer, Mattia Casse, Matteo Marsaglia, Alex Vinatzer and above all Dominik Paris, the 32-year-old from Merano, in the province of Bolzano (Trentino Alto Adige), who with twenty career victories in the World Cup is the third winningest Italian skier ever behind the two legends Alberto Tomba and Gustav Thöni.

In cross-country skiing, the athlete Italy is banking on for a medal is Federico Pellegrino, 31 years old from Aosta (Valle d’Aosta). Federico is the Italian with the most World Cup successes, nine in total: he was the first non-Scandinavian athlete in history to win the World Cup sprint (in 2016), last year he won the World Cup again and at the 2018 PyeongChang Games he won the silver medal in the sprint.

In biathlon, the Italian star is Dorothea Wierer, 31 years old from Brunico, also in the province of Bolzano (Trentino Alto Adige). Dorothea won two bronze medals in the mixed relay at the Olympic Games in Sochi (Russia) 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, then in 2019 she became the first Italian in history to win the overall World Cup, repeating in 2020. She is among the strongest specialists in the world and is in great shape, so among the candidates for success in biathlon.

Moving on to ice, the diamond of the Italian team is Arianna Fontana, short track specialist. Arianna, 31 years old from Sondrio (Lombardy), is at her fifth Olympic participation! In 2006, at the age of just 15, at the Turin Games in Piedmont, she won the bronze medal in the 3000 meter relay, making her the youngest Italian ever to win a Winter Olympic medal. At the Vancouver (Canada) 2010 Games she won another bronze in the 500m individual medal. Then at the Sochi (Russia) 2014 Games she exploded, winning a silver medal (500m) and two bronze medals (1500m and 3000m relay) and at the PyeongChang (South Korea) Games she became a legend, winning gold in the 500m, silver in the 3000m relay and bronze in the 100m.

Together with Arianna, on the short track track there will be Francesca Lollobrigida, great-granddaughter of Gina Lollobrigida, the very famous Italian actress of the '50s and '60s. Francesca, after winning nine world titles in roller skating, decided to switch to ice, participating in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympic Games, where she didn't win medals but gained a lot of experience. In Beijing, her moment of glory could come.