Valentina Vezzali has always had to be agile of mind and body ever since taking up fencing as a child, through five Olympic Games that brought six gold medals, to the political career she embarked upon in 2013 when she was elected to the Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies.
Vezzali is the subject of the Olympic Channel’s fifth episode in the new season of Legends Live On, which will also feature athlete Hicham El Guerrouj, who won the 1,500/5,000m double at the Olympic Games in 2004; Uschi Disl, winner of nine biathlon medals over five Olympic Winter Games; triple swimming gold medallist Pieter van den Hoogenband; and Svetlana Khorkina, winner of seven Olympic medals.
Vezzali started fencing as a child in Jesi, in the region of Ancona, under the tutelage of Enzo Triccoli, also known as Maestro, with coach Giulio Tomassini arriving at the club in 1989 and being impressed by the strength and bravery of one so small of stature.
She said: “I’m convinced that, right then, the hands of Maestro Triccoli and my father were guiding mine and allowed me to accomplish a small miracle.”
She appeared on the Italian version of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2009, but she was very career-focused and applied the skills she had learned during her sporting career in the police sports division – Le Fiamme d’Oro – heading up the youth branch while campaigning in parliament for women’s rights and sport and physical education.