Do you have Olympic fever? I always do. I can’t stop watching, I stay up way too late and switch on the TV during my lunch break to catch some of the more obscure sports that I would never have the occasion to see otherwise: fencing, table tennis, rifle shooting. It’s all good. I suffer through listening to my youngest complain that there is not enough equestrian coverage and my husband complain about how gymnastic routines are too flowery. I don’t care. I love it all. I love the excitement of the athletes who are on the biggest stage of their lives, the emotions that overtake them on the podium, the excitement of the parents in the stands. Of course, the coverage here in the US is very Ameri-centric, but I try to keep track of the Italian team and their progress. 290 athletes were sent to Rio from Italy. They are competing in 30 sports and to date, they have earned a very respectable 13 medals.
Here are 5 facts about Italy and the Olympics:
- Italy is one of only a few countries to have competed in every Winter and Summer Games in the modern age.
- Italy is 5th in the total gold medal count in the modern age.
- Italy has hosted 2 Winter Games (Cortina d’Ampezzo, 1956 & Torino, 2006) and 1 Summer Games (Rome, 1960). Cortina was supposed to host the 1944 winter games which were canceled because of World War II.
- In 1928, gymnast Luigina Giavotti became the youngest medalist of all time, at 11 years old (team competition, silver medal).
- Some of Italy’s most notable and successful Olympians include: Alberto Tomba (downhill skiing), Marco Pantani (cycling) and Federica Pellegrini (swimming)
I hope you are enjoying the Olympics as much as I do. If you are anything like me, it’s one had on the remote and the other clutching my cup of coffee. Go USA and Forza Azzurri!!