In Translation: Vanessa Ferrari, the Lioness of Brescia

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Earning a score just 0.065 less than she earned in qualifications, Vanessa Ferrari, the lioness of Brescia, demonstrated impressive solidity especially after competing the all-around three times this week, hitting twelve routines between qualifications, team finals, and all-around finals.

Generally, “it’s more difficult to compete on your own, without your teammates close to you,” Ferrari said.

She thought her young team did very well, but jokingly added something that gave her anxiety: “On bars, there was Martina Rizzelli with me and Enrico [Casella, the national team director], and she is usually slow to chalk the bars, so she made me nervous,” since the gymnasts are given only a few seconds to prepare them for each athlete during the competition.

On vault, Ferrari said herself that she was “a bit cold,” performing a double twist for a 14.866.

About her uneven bars (13.7) she said, “I did the usual, more or less normal.” Her routine there, however, does not have great technical skills and she had a hop when she landed her full-in dismount.

“I didn’t perform beam too well, but at least I didn’t fall,” Vany said, with a smile on her lips. In fact, the 13.9 she earned is the result of her inability to hit connections, as well as some form inaccuracy throughout.

“On floor, I didn’t have much time to warm up because I was the first one to perform. After the double layout, I rebounded in order to hit the split leap, but I felt I was too far forward, so in the ended I decided not to risk the jump. Instead, in my third tumbling pass, I connected the back tuck to the full-in.  In team finals I did exactly the opposite, hitting the connection in my second pass but missing it in the third one. It’s like I’m showing my routine to the judges piece by piece,” she jokes. “Maybe in the floor final I’ll put them all together!”

With a 14.7, the star of Orzinuovi not only got the third best score of the day on floor, but improved by 0.144 from the 14.566 in qualification.

“With my bars set and a not-so-perfect beam routine, I knew that catching the five gymnasts ahead of me was impossible. Although, it’s disappointing that on floor, when the other gymnasts aren’t clean, this doesn’t affect their E-scores. Now I’ll check my form and my mind, getting concentration for Sunday’s challenge, because apart from Biles, we [Ferrari and the other floor finalists] are all on the same level, fighting for two spots on the podium.”

The woman who lived twice, with today’s result, says she is in the midst of a second miraculous youth. Her first, at the age of 16, was dyed with gold at Aarhus in 2006 and ended with bronze in Stuttgart in 2007, a medal she won despite a foot injury.

A tendon problem made her live a long ordeal, compromising the Beijing Games in 2008 as well as several World Championships – London 2009 (skipped for surgery), Rotterdam 2010 (she returned to an 11th place spot), and Tokyo 2011 (coming 12th, despite the burden of qualifying her team to the Olympics on her small shoulders). Her revival at the Games in London, where she placed 8th, was followed by two sixth place spots in Belgium and China.

Where can she go from here?

To Rio, for sure, she said, and if the 24-year-old makes it all the way there, she says she will definitely have a few surprises.

At the floor final tomorrow, her friend Erika Fasana will compete by her side. Fasana finished 17th in the all-around with a 53.999, down from 55.398 in qualifications.

“I want to congratulate Erika, because these competitions aren’t easy and I’m happy I could help her with preparing bars, since I finished floor earlier. Finally, let me thank my boyfriend Andrea Cingolani who, after his competition with the Italian MAG team, helped me a lot, sometimes even if it meant not spending time with his own teammates.”

Translation by Valeria Violi
Original by the Federazione Ginnastica d’Italia

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