Valentina Vezzali

Valentina Vezzali is one of the most decorated athletes who holds a leading position among the world’s greatest foil fencers. With six Olympic gold medals hanging round her neck; being the only athlete in history to have won three individual fencing gold medals at three consecutive Olympic Games - Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008; and with a total of twenty four gold, nine silver and five bronze medals won in the World and European Fencing Championships since 1993, well, would you have any doubt on who to count on when it comes to drawing swords?

Valentina was born in Italy and started practicing fencing at the age of six. Her first victory with the “Fumi” Trophy - “first blades” category goes back to 1983. Ever since, her elegant, lightning-speed moves have collected every possible fencing decoration and medal.

Her passion, determination and, let’s say it, electrifying energy does not end anywhere near the fencing piste. It continues in her everyday life and especially in her social work, a true calling for her. She has been working with the AISM charity (Italian Association for Multiple Sclerosis disease), particularly with women and youth carrying the disease. She became YUNGA Ambassador in 2009, working with activities and initiatives to engage children and young people in issues of climate change and food scarcity. In this context, Valentina acted as YUNGA Ambassador at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010. She also supported both FAO’s “1billionhungry” project to end hunger and the “Run for Food” campaign. Her athletic performances, lifestyle and the values that she conveys inspire young people to become active participants in their world and communities. Valentina’s contagious enthusiasm and energy makes her a wonderful role model for us all.