FROM VENICE TO MILAN ON THE FRECCIAROSSA TRAIN WITH THE WORLD PARALYMPIC FENCING CHAMPION A mixture of excitement, tenderness and pride shines in the eyes of travellers as they ask for a photo with Bebe Vio, the symbol of an Italy that still has the power to overcome adversity. A young woman who looks those of the same age right in the eyes with a positive disillusionment and founded the Art4Sport association, which gives children who have lost a limb hope to realise their life’s dreams. What makes you rejoice? So many things, but if I had to mention just one, it would be the happiness I see in the kids of the association we founded, how they smile at you and send you pictures of themselves competing or trying on some new prosthesis. How did Art4Sport come about? From my family experience. Rising to the challenge. Our mission is to give prostheses and chairs so that children who have lost a limb can participate in sports. But that is not enough, we also have to promote sports as a passion that breaks down all barriers. The Giochi Senza Barriere (Games Without Barriers) take place on 13 June in Rome, at 8.30 pm at the Stadio dei Marmi.
Psychic wellbeing has become as important to athletes as physical fitness. How do you handle that aspect? My psychic wellbeing is better than my physical condition. The truth is that if you are comfortable inside your own head, then you will be so with your body too. I stay very fit, I live multiple lives, I travel, work and have fun too. How do you concentrate before a competition? I am incredibly superstitious, I try to take my mind off the tension just before I go on by focusing on singing. I have a competition playlist, full blast music! Spotify picks the music for me and I sing it as I put on my mask, all with very precise breathing. I need my team by my side, no one else, trainer and friends. If it is any other way, I get nasty. What does “competing” mean to you? You should compete because you enjoy it, whether you end up happy to have won or distraught for having lost, you have to feel emotions. If you lose you have to get angry. I love strong emotions, I cry whether I am happy or sad and I am always yelling. If you enjoy it and you have fun, you will win. It is like in graphics, my career, you get it right when you have fun doing it. What other types of sports do you do?
Athletics, I ski and go to the gym. I have tried my hand at lots of sports. But there is one I do not understand: bocce. What daily challenges do you face, outside of the sport? Everything you do is a challenge when you have to retrain yourself to use your hands for everything, from picking up the phone to saving your strength, but every day brings something good too. What are your next professional and personal goals? The next big one is the world championship in the first week of November in Rome. We are very proud and excited to host the event in Italy this year and will give it our all. Do you feel you have a chance at the medal? I want it. You dress both sporty and very elegant. Do you prefer sneakers or heels? I am having a lot of fun with fashion because I am lucky enough to be friends with Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first Italian woman to head Dior. She is hard as nails and I adore her. I call her “zia scialla” (which literally means “auntie take-it-easy” in teen slang, translator’s note), because she is the most “take-it-easy woman” in the world, she has fun and you learn so much from her.
Il giornalista Andrea Radic con Bebe Vio sul Frecciarossa Venezia-Milano/Journalist Andrea Radic with Bebe Vio on the Frecciarossa train from Venice to Milan