The rise of the Italians?Although Italy were not particularly successful as a team at the London 2012 Olympics, qualifying and finishing in 7th, this in itself was an improvement from the 2011 World Championships where they qualified down in 9th, failing to make the team final or secure their spot at the Olympic Games. Since then they have made some big improvements, taking the first of the last four team places at the London 2012 Test event, qualifying to the team finals at the Olympic Games and also taking the Bronze medal in the 2012 European Championships. So have they got the potential to carry on to bigger and better things or have they peaked already? A lot of that depends, in my opinion, on Vanessa Ferrari.
At 21 years old, Vanessa is by far the strongest member of the Italian team and has been for many years. She is one of the best gymnasts to come out of Italy and has been a core member of the Italian team for over six years. She became all around champion in her first senior year at the 2006 World Championships as well as taking Bronze medals on bars and floor. She has gained many other medals since then at World and European Championships and is still a consistent all around gymnast. After a quiet period in her career she has recently come back as strong and competitive as ever and is looking to regain her winning ways. She was instrumental in helping the team to qualify for the Olympics as she was in helping the team take the Bronze at the European Championships and gain a place in the team final at the Olympic Games. With Vanessa's success to look to, it can only help to inspire the rest of the team and I hope that she continues in the sport for many more years to come.
Carlotta Ferlito is one of my favourite Italian gymnasts at the moment. She is consistent all around and her work on beam is absolutely delightful. She has a grace and elegance that is present in many of the Italian gymnasts and she presents all of her routines beautifully. Other notable gymnasts in the Italian team at the moment include Elisabetta Preziosa who works with style and fluidity, and Erika Fasana who has incredible power.
With so many great gymnasts to choose from it is perhaps no wonder that Italy are doing quite well for themselves at the moment. The problem is that apart from Vanessa Ferrari's routines, and Carlotta Ferlito's beam, the Italian gymnasts simply do not have the difficulty to take the next step. They generally have fantastic execution, but need to rely on the mistakes of others in order to place well. I really hope that they can build up their difficulty and keep challenging the best of the rest even if they cannot reach the top four nations. But I also hope that they do not lose any of their style and beauty in doing so as the Italian team are always a delight to watch.