The 2012 Summer Olympics will begin on July 27, and as athletes come from around the globe to compete for the gold, silver, and bronze medals, there are five athletes from Italy that bear following.
While some of these competitors are very young, all have a good shot at bringing home the gold:
Giovanna Trillini: Fencing
Giovanna has won Olympic gold four times in foil fencing, as well as one silver and three bronzes. Each of her five appearances in the Olympics has brought her at least one medal. Italy has taken the gold medal 45 times in fencing -- the most of any country. Giovanna, as well as her teammate Valentina Vezzali, is expected to be on the podium for Italy in fencing at the end of the Olympic Games this summer. Many who love this sport cheer for Giovanna for her skill and enthusiasm.
Federica Pellegrini: Swimming
Federica first competed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, and won a silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle event. In 2008, she took the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle event. In both the heats, she set new world records. She is a favorite for medal in both the 200- and 400-meter freestyle events. Federica is the first female Olympic Italian swimmer to bring home a medal and has become a favorite with swimming fans.
Clemente Russo: Boxing
Clemente has quite a following coming into the Olympics this year, especially after winning the gold medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in 2007 and the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He is one of Italy's favorites for the Olympic Gold and will undoubtedly be a tough opponent for whoever steps into the ring. In addition to his winning boxing record, Clemente also starred in a critically acclaimed film last year, which only increased his fan base.
Giorgia Bronzini: Cycling
Giorgia will make her first appearance at the Olympic Games this year after winning the World Championships in 2010 and 2011. She has incredible finishing sprints in the sport and will often fool her opponents into thinking she has little left in the tank. She will likely be a contender for a medal. Giorgia sports a lip piercing, which she promised herself she would get if she won a medal in her first World Cup. She won that medal and the lip piercing has now become something of a personal signature.
Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari: Beach Volleyball
These two Italian women are hoping to bring the first Olympic medal for beach volleyball to Italy. The team has improved in each of their three seasons and last year finished sixth in the world rankings. This is the first Olympic appearance for both women, who are also members of the Italian Air Force. The best finish for Italy in beach volleyball in the past Olympics has been fifth. Menegatti was also named as the Most Improved Player last August in the International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB).
My family and I enjoy watching as much of the Summer and Winter Olympics as we can. Our favorite sports include swimming, basketball, hockey, and curling.