Thursday, 23 May 2013

A word on Italian Gymnastics...

Looking through my posts I was shocked to find that I have posted nothing on the Italian gymnasts. Not sure why, I think they are excellent and have some of the best artistry out there. They are making a name for themselves by producing serveral great all-around gymnasts including 2006 World Champ Vanessa Ferrari and 2012 Junior European Champ Enus Mariani.

1/ Vanessa Ferrari '90
Any discussion of Italian gymnastics has to begin with Vanessa Ferrari. She suprised the world as a young gymnast by becoming world all-around Champion in 2006, and in my mind, put Italy on the radar. She was (and still is!) an extremely powerful (yet short) athlete. She just goes to show that size isn't everything! She competed at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, one of only a handful of gymnasts to do so. Her tenacity and fierceness is admirable, in every competition she gets her game face on, and has always performed like a seasoned competitor. She has been a great leader for the Italian team over the past few years and their most consistent all-arounder. She placed 8th at last year's London Olympic Games, a testament to her hard work over the last quad, and an improvement on her 11th place finish four years earlier in Beijing.

Vanessa on floor at the 2012 London Olympics

The most amazing thing about Vanessa is her competitive spirit and her obvious love for gymnastics. She continues to compete and (hopefully!) will shoot for Rio in 2016, where she may finally win a medal on floor. She is best to watch on floor, where she has wonderfully expressive dance, some of the best tumbling you'll ever see and she even has a unique leap named after her in the code. To be honest, she is pretty good everywhere! She has that 'get the job done' approach, and can be counted on to produce a consistent performance anywhere- a great person to have on your team! Plus, she likes to keep us entertained with her interesting choice of leotard- see below!

Vanessa Ferrari competes on floor in the EF at the 2012 Olympic Games- she was devastated to finish outside of the medals in 4th place

2/ Carlotta Ferlito '95
Another prominent name in Italian gymnastics is the charismatic Carlotta Ferlito. She first drew attention at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games, where she placed 3rd in the all-around, 3rd on vault and 2nd on floor. She, like Ferarri is a good all-arounder, but her best event is beam. It has always slightly unnerved me how confident and natural she looks up there! She consistently makes beam and floor finals, and she is great to watch on either piece. She is an incredibly clean and athletic gymnast, with many more competitive years in her yet!

Carlotta Ferlito, another of Italy's great all-arounders

Carlo's beam from the EF at the European Championships held last month

Trademark balance at the start of her routine, London 2012 (photo credit: Zimbo)

3/ Elisabetta Preziosa '93
Elisabetta (or Betta) is a beam specialist and her routines are absolutely gorgeous, thanks to her beautiful flexibility and poise. She also competes on other events, but her best marks are by far on beam. If she is to make the team in the future, she will be a beam specialist (which will be tough because it seems that all Italians are great on beam!). Nevertheless, she is certainly something special.

Betta shows off her amazing flexibilityat the 2009 World Championships

Another beautiful position- I could fill up the whole page with beautiful pictures!

One more will have to do- I do love Italy's leotards! (photo credit: televisionado)

4/ Erika Fasana '96
Erika was a member of the 2012 London Olympic team, who is a great team player and another consistent all-arounder. She finished 13th in qualifications at the Olympic Games, another victim of the 2-per country rule. Vault is probably her best piece, she is another power gymnast with a Ferarri-type build. In my opinion, she has not yet reached her full potential and I am excited to see what upgrades she will make over the next couple of years.

Fasana getting ready to compete (photo credit: La Provincia)

Fasana in the vault final at the 2012 European Championships

5/ Elisa Meneghini '97
Elisa is part of the new crop of gymnasts, she turned senior this year and just missed out on the last Olympic Games. She is again great on beam (I see a common theme here) and performed very well in the beam finals at this year's European Championships in Moscow. She is a very clean gymnast from what I have seen and I am unsure about her all-around potential. But it will be interesting to see how she develops over the next quad, and how her performances can help the team.

Elisa Meneghini, happy to be on floor at the 2012 Junior European Championships (photo credit: Federation Francaise de Gym)

Elisa representing Italy in the beam final at the 2013 Moscow European Championships

6/ Enus Mariani '98
Enus will become a senior next year. She impressed many by taking the Junior European all-around title in 2012, and helped her team to a silver medal (bearing Romania, which is HUGE). She impressed me with her wonderfully expressive floor routine. She has a rare gift for artistry and has almost taken it to the level of interpretive dance. Her style is not for everyone, but I love that she is so daring and is not afraid to be herself at such a young age.

Enus at the 2012 Junior Europeans (photo credit: Federation Francaise de Gym)

Enus with her fantastic floor routine. Love it! Do you?

I can't wait to see what the Italian squad can produce over the next quad. I would love to see them upset for a team medal. I believe that Enus potentially could challenge for all-around medals in the coming years. How great would it be to see an Italian up on the podium again??

Article by Imogen Browne (Follow I Flip For Gym Blog on Twitter @IFlip4GymBlog)

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