Who and what should Italy notice at this year's Olympic Games? There are a good number of promising achievers, not to mention a golden age Olympic wear kit. John Bensalhia sets his sights on who and what to look out for...
The Italy Team's Olympic Kit
The fashionistas are already talking in droves about the international countries' Olympic kits. One of the main talking points is Giorgio Armani's specially designed kit for the Italian Olympic team. The man himself has proclaimed that “This will be one of the most fashionable Olympic Games ever.”
The kit has already been acclaimed for its simple but eye-catching contrasting colours of midnight blue and white. It is designed under the Emporio Armani EA7 sportswear label. All of the competitors will travel to Britain in possession of around 50 pieces of EA7 Olympic gear – the kit line-up includes the asymmetrically-zipped official tracksuit, warm-up gear, Bermuda shorts, trousers, T-shirts, shirts and shoes.
Emporio Armani EA7 - Olympic Sportswear
Armani also commented on the ethos of the Olympic Games and what the games stand for: “Commitment and sacrifice are important values, and they are key to sport and the Olympic ideal”.
The Men's Volleyball Team
It was victory against Germany that clinched a ticket to this year's Olympic Games for the Italian men's volleyball team. The team won victory by 3-2 in May 2012 in the final of the CEV Men's Olympic Qualification Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. The team will now qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games, where they will be up against host nation Britain, Russia, Poland, Tunisia, Brazil and the United States Of America.
Coach Mauro Berruto was delighted with the outcome and is optimistic about Italy's chances in the forthcoming Games: “I am happy that we managed to start this game in the best possible way and to win the decisive tie-break later. I hope we will be in our best shape in London.”
Valentina Vezzali, Fencing
38-year-old Valentina Vezzali is notable for a triumphant record win. Her past track record at the Olympic Games is hugely impressive, with three individual foil gold medal wins in three consecutive tournaments between 2000 and 2008. Altogether, she has won seven medals for fencing, so her appearance at this year's Olympic Games holds out great promise...
Giovanna Trillini, Fencing
...As does Giovanna Trillini. Trillini has notched up an impressive four Olympic wins, comprising three individual gold medals and a team gold. In addition to this, Trillini has scored one silver medal and three bronzes.
This highly accomplished fencer looks set to carry on her Olympic tradition of winning a medal in every competition that she enters. She has competed in five Olympic Games between 1992 and 2008 – could 2012 carry on that tradition?
Valentina Vezzali and Giovanna Trillini
Niccolo Campriani, Air Rifle
An interesting point to make about Niccolo Campriani is that he became the first competitor to officially win a place in the 2012 Olympics. He won the competition for the men's 10m air rifle at the 2010 World Championships, and is the first Italian to win this event for 40 years.
His Olympic history saw him compete in the 2008 tournament, during which he achieved 12th position in the 10m air rifle competition. However, he has still won a good number of medals in his time, including silver and bronze medals in the 2010 World Cup final (in 10m air rifle and 50m rifle 3 competitions), as well as European bronze in 2011 and European gold two years previous.
Federica Pellegrini, Swimming
This two-time Olympic medallist looks set to enjoy another strong Olympic tournament. Pellegrini is the youngest female Italian swimming champion to ever win a medal, when she took silver at the age of 16 in 2004. This accomplishment is only one of 10 world records that were set before her 21st birthday. Among her other achievements are the record of becoming the first woman to swim under four minutes in the 400m freestyle (which she did in 2009). She has also managed to defend her 200m and 400m freestyle world titles in 2011. Expect great things from Ms Pellegrini this summer at the Olympics.
You can find a calendar of the games here.