A tribute: Italian Golden Butterflies

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“We had a dream, we put our souls inside it. Passion. Devotion. Energy. Heart. They say the flap of a butterfly’s wing can lead to a hurricane half way around the world.”
With this phrase everything finished at PalaDesio few months ago during the Serie A event.  The chase to their rhythmic dream brought them (the italian team) to won 3 consecutive All Around world titles and one bronze at the olympic final the next year in London.

After so many years of experience in the group, 5 columns of “Questa Squadra” (as they’re called in Italy: “This Team”) left the carpet as winners, after bringing to Italy 100 international medals and many prestige in the international carpets.

Today my little tribute to these extraordinary athletes is this videomontage dedicated to them. The video is also a wish to the new italian group that during these days is showing the new routines!

Elisa Santoni (Sasà)   10 December 1987
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After the heart surgery she had when she was only 8, Elisa was afraid  to loose her dream to be a gymnasts. But luckily she was able to be back and she participated with Elisa Blanchi at two European Champioships in the junior group (1999 and 2001). In January 2002 she entered in the italian senior group in which she stayed for 10 years, taking many satisfactions and medals. Since her first competitions she was elected by her teammates captain of the group.

Favorite Apparatus: hoop and ball
Favorite Gymnast: Irina Tchachina

Elisa Blanchi (Blanche)   13 October 1987
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Elisa started rhythmic when she was 3 years old and after two European Championships in the junior group she entered in italian group in 2002. With Elisa Santoni she competed Athens 2004 where they got the silver medal.
After 2008 she was very close to retire but happily she decided to stay and after that year she conquered 3 world titles and many other important medals, the 100th one was the olympic bronze in London.

Favorite Apparatus: rope
Favorite Gymnast: Anna Bessonova

Romina Laurito   4 May 1987
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Romina had an incredible career as individual before to enter in the group.
In 2003 her first World Champonship and that same year she was called to join the italian group, but she wasn’t selected to compete in Athens and she decided to be back to individual competitions.
She competed in Baku 2005 and Patras 2007 where she saw her idol Anna Bessonova winning the world title. But again she couldn’t get an olympic spot as individual for Beijing 2008. Near to retire she received again the proposal to be in the italian group. This time she was in both routines and thanks to her amazing physical and technical skills she brought an important contribute to the group, and finally she could take part to the Olympic Games.

Favorite Apparatus: ball and rope
Favorite Gymnast: Anna Bessonova

Anzhelika Savrayuk (Angie)   23 August 1989
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Born in Lutsk (Ukraine), Anzhelika was introduced to rhythmic gymnastics by her mother at the age of 7 years.
After being in Italy, she competed as individual until 2007 when after getting italian citizenship she could compete in italian group.
With Italy she won many medals, the most important for her, and for many girls of the group was the one in Mie 2009 when she could ransom the 4th place in Beijing Olympics.

Favorite Apparatus: ribbon
Favorite Gymnast: Elena Vitrichenko

Giulia Galtarossa   28 May 1991
Giulia get involved with rhythmic gymnastics when she was 6 years old.
Her passion and natural talent transformed her in a great gymnast that was called to join the national team in 2007. But due to the fact that she is left-handed, she could take part to competitions from 2009. She won two world titles in Mie and Moscow, but after the World Championship, she wasn’t selected for the new program and she stayed in the team as a reserve. In 2012 she decided to retire and now she become one of Emanuela Maccarani’s assistants.

Favorite Apparatus: hoop, ball, clubs
Favorite Gymnast: Anna Bessonova

For the photos many thanks to Takayuki Murakami!

PageImage-506554-4219000-007From the left: Marta Pagnini, Romina Laurito, Anzhelika Savrayuk, Marinella Falca, Elisa Blanchi, Elisa Santoni, Daniela Masseroni, Francesca Pasinetti, Valentina Rovetta and Andreea Stefanescu. All active or former members of italian group.