Arriving at this point has meant hard work and many sacrifices. But now, with the 2012 Olympics, a dedicated MTV reality show, and many other appearances on TV to her name, she can say that at 18 years old, while she has accomplished a lot, the future is so bright that even the best predictions can’t tell what’s coming next.
You were only 12 years old when you left Catania, your home city, to go to Milan to pursue your dream. Surely it was a hard decision to make at that young age. What motivated you or pushed you in what, I’m guessing, was the right direction?
Ever since the first time I walked into a gym as a child, taking part to Olympics was my dream. So, because I couldn’t have pursued artistic gymnastics professionally while living in Catania, I decided to follow my dream and move to Milan. Luckily my dream came true!
How do you reconcile the demands of training with the desire for an active social life?
When first I started it was really difficult because I was so young that I couldn’t even go out and spend time in the city by myself, but growing up I learnt to balance training, study and free time. Now I use my weekends to just hang out.
How would you characterize the artistic gymnastics scene in Italy?
Artistic gymnastics has never been very popular in Italy and surely we are not at the same level as one of the historical teams such as Russia, China and the USA (this is clear from the fact that we lack adequate training facilities in Southern Italy). However, thanks to things such as the MTV Italy show “”Gymnasts, Parallel Lives” (“Ginnaste, Vite Parallele”), this sport is starting to gain a fair number of followers. What’s more, with the 2012 London Olympics, for the first time we qualified among the world’s 8 best teams. So, I believe we are doing a good job!
When did you find out you would be participating in the 2012 London Olympics? What was the experience like for you?
We were seven trying out for five positions in the team and we all spent the few days before the competition practicing our exercises. Even if I was almost sure I had made it through, I felt relief when I heard the official response from my coaches. It was a fabulous experience, one that leaves you speechless. The atmosphere was incredible, there were hundreds of athletes from everywhere around the world hanging around the Olympic village and I got to know many of them. I loved everything: the ceremony, the competition, all of it was overwhelming.
You are famous in Italy for your role on an MTV Italy reality show. Do you think the show affected your career? If so, how?
I don’t think it has affected my career as a gymnast, in the sense that I still work out twice a day every day and I didn’t lose the focus I needed to reach my goals. Nevertheless, the MTV Italy show influenced my life allowing me to participate in some TV shows and experience a different lifestyle. Moreover, recently, Nickelodeon chose me as the Italian representative for the 2013 Kids Choice Awards that will be held soon in Los Angeles and for me this is a great honor.
Do have any particular sports heroes who inspire you?
My sports idol is Alessandro Del Piero, not just because of his unbelievable career as a football player, but because of his marvelous charismatic personality. He always has been an exceptional worker and a humble person and that’s what I like about him.
Talking about icons, nowadays sports and fashion often overlap and you’re an athlete with style. Are there any fashion icons who inspire your?
I don’t have any particular fashion icon. I like following models and fashion bloggers, for example on Instagram, and I get inspiration for outfits to wear, but I don’t see myself as a fashion victim.
What path do you think your future will take?
Right now my life is tremendously busy, I don’t have any free time and I don’t make long-term plans. I’m still working out and, next June, I’m going to take my final exams in order to graduate from high school. Then I’ll see. I’d love to take part in Rio 2016, but I’d like to find a job on TV as well. The only thing I’m sure of is that it’s too early to predict my future..