The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, received the Italian athletes leaving for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games this morning at the Quirinale.
“These are the post-pandemic Olympics” said Mattarella adding that “in the time we are going through they bring a load of hope that gives a special value to sport. The history of the Olympics and Paralympics has been crossed over the years by wars, tensions and even terrorism. These are the Olympics after a pandemic that has compressed social life all over the world so the feeling of hope, the desire to restart is very much felt “.
“My no longer youthful age will not prevent me from following you with particular affection” guaranteed the Head of State to the athletes who will take part in the Olympics. The President of the Republic will turn 80 on 23 July, on the very day of the opening ceremony of the Games. “It is not only the result that counts – added the head of state – but success is given above all by the consequence that the movement can grow, because sport is an extraordinary opportunity for growth. You will represent us and honor our flag. We will all follow you and rest assured, we will be with you “.
The large representation of blue athletes, technicians and managers was led by the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malagò and by the President of the Italian Paralympic Committee, Luca Pancalli. During the ceremony, opened by the performance of the national anthem by the Interforze Music Band and the projection of a RAI-Sport video, President Malagò, President Pancalli and the Undersecretary of State to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers intervened , Valentina Vezzali.
President Mattarella presented the Italian flag to the Alfieri of the Olympic team Elia Viviani and Jessica Rossi, and to the Alfieri of the Paralympic team, Beatrice Vio and Federico Morlacchi, who expressed a brief greeting of thanks. The meeting ended with the performance of the Olympic Games Anthem.
“This flag represents Italy that is getting up, which has never given up with patience and sacrifice”, said Jessica Rossi, skeet shooting champion, with her voice broken by emotion, and according to the cyclist Viviani the Azzurri will live ” the Olympics of the restart with more determination after having faced a very difficult pandemic situation “. Many applause also for the speech by Bebe Vio, who told her the meaning of the tricolor, in which she also sees Alex Zanardi, “the first person with disabilities I have met: it represents the whole path we have taken. Being able to represent everyone – has concluded – the fencer – will be the greatest emotion of my life “. Finally, Morlacchi promised that in Tokyo “every gesture will be dedicated to all the people who in these sixteen months of the pandemic have lost their lives or risked losing it, those who fought to keep their loved ones close or those who fought to save more lives. possible. I’m sure it will be the Olympics of a new beginning “.