Umbri Olimpici, our athletes conquering Paris 2024

We present to you the Umbrian representation that, in a few days, will participate in the Paris Olympic Games.

It’s almost time for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (26 July-11 August) and the Umbrian athletes are starting to warm up: they sharpen their swords, load their rifles and order ribbons, clubs and hoops. Not a large representation, but certainly a valuable one. Already medal winners or, in any case, not in their first Olympic participation.
On the flight that (virtually) will leave from Umbria, to reach the French capital, will board Diana Bacosi from Città delle Pieve with her clay pigeon shooting rifle, the Blue Butterfly Agnese Duranti from Spoleto, the swordsman from Foligno Andrea Santarelli, Alessio Foconi (Terni) with his foil, Daniele Santarelli (Foligno) leading the Turkish women’s volleyball and the paralympic swimmer Riccardo Menciotti from Terni. On the staff of the national boxing team we find the technical director Emanuele Renzini from Foligno and the physiotherapist Fabio Morbidini from Bastia Umbra.

medaglia d'oro
Diana Bacosi

Diana Bacosi (skeet, shooting specialty)

After winning the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro and the silver medal at the Tokyo Games, the Olympian from Città della Pieve is ready to fly to Paris to aim (it is worth saying) the third five-man podium circles. Twice world champion, in Lonato in 2019 and Osijek in 2022, Bacosi has a first-rate list of achievements. «The emotion of winning an Olympics can only be surpassed by motherhood. For these occasions there is physical and mental preparation with breathing exercises, cardiac checks and techniques to manage the anxiety that may arise during the race. For example, to prepare for Rio de Janeiro, in my training camp I had recreated the same colors that I would have found there: that of the track and that of what I would have around. This way I got my eyes used to those colors.”

Agnese Duranti

Agnese Duranti (rhythmic gymnastics)

The Blue Butterfly from Spoleto is ready to twirl on the Paris track after the bronze won with her teammates at Tokyo 2020. «The Olympics was the greatest joy and the most important race of my life. Just being there is an achievement, bringing home a medal is a great emotion.” There are many podiums on which she has stood, winning medals, both at the World and European Championships (the last being gold in Budapest in 2024 with hoops) but the Olympics has a completely different flavour: «It is a goal that I have always dreamed of since girl. For an athlete it is the maximum point to reach. Even simply being there is a victory; it is something that has no equal. The preparation is long and must be built over time, even if when you are there you never feel ready. Getting on that platform is no different to other races, there are only the Olympic rings looking at you and they caught my attention when I entered in Tokyo; it was full of Olympic rings.”

Andrea Santarelli

Andrea Santarelli (fencing: individual/team épée)

With the team silver at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics around his neck, the gold medal at the World Team Championships in 2023 and a silver in 2024 at the European Championships – which add to the many others won over the years – Andrea Santarelli he returns to the Olympics for the third time, aiming his sword for the top step. For this type of competition you need to be ready: «As for the body, there is a long preparation for the mind too. Before I was very fluctuating, but now I have found stability. A myriad of thoughts pass through your head: you think about what your opponent will do. If you are at a disadvantage you think about how to recover, if you are ahead you think about how to resist… Being at a disadvantage stimulates you to think about how to land the right hits, obviously the champion must be able to manage the advantage and not think about the possible recovery of the opponent.»

Alessio Foconi

Alessio Foconi (fencing: individual/team foil)

After Tokyo, Paris arrives in 2020 for the foil player from Terni. He presents himself in France with his World Cups won from 2017 to 2021 and the many medals won in foil in the European and World Championships. He daje’s battle cry was also engraved on the blades: «It’s a liberating act, a way to vent the fatigue and all the work done to be there.» He has played many important races and at certain levels the right preparation is fundamental: «I train following three phases: the first is technical, that is, the meeting with the opponent or the lesson with my teacher; the second is athletic preparation; the third concerns the mind, psychology and concentration, all fundamental elements in this sport. This is why I also train with the mental coach: I need it to manage tension during a race and to approach it better psychologically.»

Daniele Santarelli

Daniele Santarelli (head coach of the Turkish women’s volleyball team)

The highly awarded Santarelli from Foligno – only in 2024 he won the Italian Championship and Champions League with Imoco Volley from Conegliano – leads Turkish women’s volleyball to win an Olympic medal. Already in 2023 with this team he brought home a gold medal at the Volleyball Nations League and a European Championship. He will face Italy in the group stage, in which his wife Monica De Gennaro plays: «Italy is my country, it’s obvious that singing the anthem and getting to know everyone on the other side of the net has a certain effect, but it’s my job and, regardless of the national team or club I coach, I want to win. I’ve always thought this, even when I played at low levels: if I play cards with my mom I’ll do everything to win and I feel terrible if I lose! (jokes). When I played on the pitch with my friends I didn’t accept defeat: sporting competition is part of me.» We will definitely see him in action!

Riccardo Menciotti. Foto Facebook

Riccardo Menciotti (Paralympic swimmer. Specialties: 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 medley, 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle)

The swimmer from Terni has already won an Olympic medal: a bronze in Tokyo in the 4×100 mixed relay. He then boasts several medals (gold, silver and bronze) at the World Championships and a silver and a bronze at the 2024 European Championships. His story with swimming began early, when his mother threw him into the water as a child; from that moment sport became an important means for him to grow. He returned to sport and swimming immediately after a serious accident at work which cost him the amputation of his right hand. The figures who allowed him to undertake this path are his mother and coach Marco Cicconi. If he thinks of an important moment in his career he doesn’t know which one to choose: «There isn’t one in particular, all the races convey a unique emotion that leaves a mark on you. I love everything that swimming gives me, especially the adrenaline of competitions.”

Fabio Morbidini. Foto Facebook

Fabio Morbidini (National boxing physiotherapist)

The physiotherapist from Bastia Umbra is an Olympic veteran. The one in Paris is his sixth participation, it all started in Athens 2004. He can boast the victory of 8 medals as a staff. «Honoured and proud to be the physiotherapist of the boxing team and happy to symbolically and sportingly represent my city, Bastia Umbra, in the world.»

Emanuele Renzini

Emanuele Renzini (technical director of the national boxing team)

The Foligno DT was awarded the Palme d’Or by CONI in 2023. In Paris he will lead the Italian national boxing team made up of eight athletes (three men and five women), exactly double compared to those who had qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. On that occasion he had only brought home a bronze medal with the boxer Irma Testa.