The queen of Rhythmics, 18, tells herself: «I have a gym at home and during Covid I broke a chandelier. I hardly go out with my companions without ever being late “
Three gold medals: ball, ribbon, circle. And one bronze on the clubs, “the fault” of two missed holds during an exercise of great difficulty. At the age of 18 Sofia Raffaeli from Chiaravalle, Ancona, has already written the history of Italian rhythmic gymnastics. On Thursday in Bulgaria, the policewoman from Marche was the first Italian to win an individual world title. In fact, she took three thanks to amazing exercises. Today Sofia will attempt the assault on the last medal, that of the general competition that offers the direct pass to the Paris 2024 Games.
Sofia, did you really build a gym at home to train even after the eight hours a day at the Fabriano Gymnastics?
“It happened during Covid: my parents made room in the living room and we mounted a platform equal to the competition ones”.
Let’s imagine for stretching or at most some vaulting.
“No, I also throw ribbons, balls and clubs at us. I try to be careful but the ceiling is low and every now and then I make a mistake. I broke a chandelier and several knick-knacks ».
Companions and coach call her “Atomic Ant” because she is tireless.
«What appears to be total fluidity on TV is the result of enormous work. The sequence is constructed piece by piece and if you consider that each movement must be multiplied by the four tools, sometimes eight hours are not enough ».
Julieta Cantaluppi, her coach, says it’s a fierce passion that makes her so resilient.
“It’s true. I can seem like a perfectionist, a training freak. In reality, I love what I do madly and I put all of myself into it because rhythmics punish you if you don’t work so hard “.
The hardest part of training?
«Repeat the same movement hundreds of times, until it is memorized. And then fit it with the one before and the one after ».
The ball that she throws very high and leaves the camera’s field of view never seems to land. But then it always falls on her feet or on her hands.
«On the ball and in general on the equipment in flight, keep a visual control that you have to mask so as not to ruin the aesthetics of the exercise. The hardest thing, which happened to me on Thursday with the ribbon wand, is having to retrieve the tool an inch from the ground, before it hits the ground and takes the penalty. You must be quick and imperturbable ».
Circle, clubs, ribbon, ball. Is it true that you always travel together?.
“Very true. They are objects made to measure, based on the measurements of my hands. On the plane the balls should be deflated and the rim disassembled. But they could be damaged. So before each flight we call the airline and explain the situation. I entrust the circle to the hostesses: it does not enter the luggage compartment ».CopyAMP code
The most difficult tool to handle?
“The tape: it’s very long and you never really know where to get it.”
How important is the public?
«A lot before to charge you and then to reward or console you. During the exercise it is as if I isolate only the audio channel of the music, I am in a trance ».
Do you feel different from your peers?
“I am aware that I am. I go out very little and almost alone with my friends for a pizza or an ice cream and never be late. To train I chose to attend an equal high school (Human sciences, ed) in the evenings and just enrolled in an online psychology degree program. But diversity doesn’t weigh on me: I’m following my own path and I’m proud of it ».
Your free time?
«TV series, a few books, chat with my parents. No social media, so much sleep to recover from the fatigue of training ».
Have you heard of the flood in your Marche region?
“Yes, and they deeply impressed me. I am very attached to my land and I always carry it in my heart ».
September 17, 2022 (change September 17, 2022 | 07:25)
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