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Interview with the women's national team of Rhythmic Gymnastics

The "Farfalle Azzurre" team talks about passion for sports and the goal of the 2021 Olympics

Interview with the women's national team of Rhythmic Gymnastics The Farfalle Azzurre team talks about passion for sports and the goal of the 2021 Olympics

The Italian National Rhythmic Gymnastics Le Farfalle is made up of 10 talented, very young and passionate girls. Their life is marked by training for 11 months a year, competitions, athletic training and physiotherapy. They face all this with an incredible passion, but above all by supporting and encouraging each other, not just as a sports team, but like sisters.

The team represents the uniqueness of Italy in the world, and is made up of girls with a strong personality and a lot of ambition. While not yet having the same media coverage as other sports, Rhythmic Gymnastics is becoming more and more popular.

The increasing following is due to different factors: first of all thanks to the results obtained by the team and the dedication of the coach, our Emanuela Maccarani, secondly thanks to the TVs and sponsors, who bring visibility to the whole movement. I am really happy that the media are telling the world of rhythmic gymnastics with greater continuity, as I believe it is a discipline rich in ideas both from a technical and a human point of view. - explains athlete Martina Santandrea.

The news of the postponement of Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021 was certainly not easy for the athletes, especially since the Olympics are the main the goal of a whole four-year work. nss G-Club tells through the voices of the young gymnasts, collected in a mini interview, the daily life of the athletes, the motivation, the meaning of belonging to a national team, and more.

 

Tell us about yourselves, about the team and the roles.

Alessia Maurelli, 24 years-old, Rivoli

The national team is made up of ten girls, ranging from 16 to 24 years old. We come from all over Italy. For eleven months a year we live and train together six days a week. The team was formed in 2016, and during this four-year period we have reached important milestones including qualifying for the Olympics two years early. The main team is made up of 5 gymnasts, all belonging to the Air Force Sports Group: they show up at the official competitions. The next appointment will be the European Championships in Kiev, Ukraine, at the end of November. Our coach Emanuela Maccarani is also the National Technical Director of all Italian Rhythmics.

How long have you been competing and training together? How important is it to be close to each other and to get along well in this sport?

Alessia Maurelli24 years-old, Rivoli

Complicity and understanding are essential for the success of the group; in these four years we have cultivated our complicity not only within the training context but also through the sharing of non-sporting moments. In unexpected situations, knowing how to interpret a gesture of your partner can be decisive. It is a symbiotic union, we are just like sisters.

How did your passion for sport begin, in particular for rhythmic gymnastics?

Martina Centofanti, 22 years-old, Rome

The passion for this sport came almost by chance. Before starting this path, we all practiced other sports: for example, I started with swimming and then I moved on to ballet. I discovered gymnastics watching the World Cup on television and since then the passion has never faded. For me, passion is the key, the engine of a discipline that leads us to stay together, train and prepare ourselves every day.

How does a typical day look like during training periods?

Agnese Duranti, 19 years-old, Spoleto

During the year we all live in Desio. Every morning at 7am we have breakfast, and then we reach the gym where we start the training session at 8.15. First the warm-up and physical preparation, then we dedicate an hour and a half to ballet, and then we practice with the gymnastic tools. After lunch and an hour off, we have a second training session until 6pm. For four days a week we have physiotherapy, and after dinner, we can dedicate to our passions.

Why is there still little media resonance of this sport? Is there a disparity in the way women's and men's sports are told and followed by media and society?

Martina Santandrea20 years-old, Bentivoglio

I believe that, compared to other sports, there is still a strong disparity; but compared to the past, Rhythmic Gymnastics is becoming more and more popular, as demonstrated by the growth of gyms and young girls who decide to approach this discipline. This happens first of all thanks to the results obtained by the team and the dedication of our coach, and secondly thanks to the TVs and sponsors that bring visibility.

In a moment of high tension like a competition, what role do make-up and clothing play? Can comfort help the performance in any way?

Letizia Cicconcelli, 20 years-old, Fabriano

The make-up as well as a good chignon make us feel safer on the platform, and the bodysuit is like a second skin. These elements are very important because they enrich and complete the artistic component and the narration of this wonderful sport, entirely dedicated to women and their femininity.

What is the advice you would give to young people who approach a sport, at a competitive level and not?

Martina Santandrea, 20 years-old, Bentivoglio

To get results in this sport it is necessary to keep the passion alive. It is a discipline that requires sacrifices and a radical change in your lifestyle. You have to take into account the possibility of giving up trips, summer holidays, parties. This sport takes something away from you to give you intense emotions in exchange, unbelievable for those who never practiced it. For example, I am an only child and I can say that this sport gave me nine sisters.

Coronavirus had a huge impact on the world of sports. What does it mean to train for such an important goal as the Olympics, and then seeing your dream postponed to a year later?

Martina Centofanti22 years-old, Roma

Undoubtedly, Coronavirus has impacted everyone, including athletes. The Olympics are the the goal of a four-year work. At the beginning, it was not easy to elaborate the news of the postponement of the Games to 2021: there are those who reacted well and those who did not. Also in this case, being a team saved us, we immediately sat down to confront each other and to find the positive aspects of this unexpected turning point: we will have more time to improve extremely complex exercises with a very high technical value, but above all we have ahead of us another year to spend together.