A golden parade. Italy's winning spirit reaches out to the world, portraying the outstanding nature of Italian sport. They were many, showing the present, past and future of sport through a single lens: victory. This morning, in the Sala delle Armi of the Foro Italico, the traditional ceremony for the highest of sport awards: Golden Collars, Star for Sporting Excellence, and Golden Palm for Coaching Excellence. Champions of all ages and times, capable of making history, the clearest expression of a movement that represents the fifth force of the Olympic Medal Collection of all times, between summer and winter editions. World champions of 2015 and Italian Olympic champions from 1948 to 1994 provided a moving series of memories and victories, in the presence of the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.
The event, opened by the address of the President of CONI, Giovanni Malagò, was also attended by the Secretary General, Roberto Fabbricini, the President of CIP, Luca Pancalli, members of the CONI Board of Directors Valentina Turisini and Fiona May, and also by a significant delegation of Federal Presidents and of the various organisations of the sporting world.
Malagò welcomed everyone in attendance, emphasising the importance of the successes achieved, which promote a better image of Italy, thanking Prime Minister Renzi and the entire Government for their constant and passionate support of the sport world. "The contributions of Prime Minister Renzi and of President of the Republic Mattarella were of vital importance with regards to Rome 2024, to support a candidature that constitutes an extraordinary opportunity for the revival and development of the entire country. In addition, the attentive and constant support guaranteed by their special closeness was also of vital importance. Next year, in Rio, the Prime Minister will attend the opening ceremony of Casa Italia, and I believe this is a very beautiful gesture. 2015 was an important year. The beginning was difficult, with mixed results, and then we hit on a series of successes that we had not only been unable to achieve in decades, but also in disciplines where they had never been achieved. I thank and extend an embrace to everyone; this is a historic day to take pride in our sport world, which ennobles Italy as a whole".
The Prime Minister Matteo Renzi celebrated Italian champions with a message of rare strength. "What a joy, for who represents the institutions, to celebrate you: when you win, Italy wins with you. I have been heavily criticised for going to see Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci, but that time was marvellous. Sport is a founding element of Italian identity". The Prime Minister also talked about the Rome 2024 candidature. "I believe in it more than ever and I am sure that we can play this till the final victory, even if there are some tough contestants. I am sure that if each one of us together do our part, the challenge of hosting the Olympics will be a precious occasions for Italian women and men, for the planning it entails, regardless of its outcome. This year we celebrated important results of international organisations, the next year we will meet again to celebrate the victories in Rio and to look at what we have done and what still needs to be done. I would not forgive myself if we threw away the chance of improving our cities with sport".
The award was given to three great personalities: Giorgio Armani, Gianni Letta and Massimo Moratti. Moving were also the thanks expressed by Armani, who will dress the Italian Olympic team also at Rio 2016. Gianni Letta and Massimo Moratti also emphasised the importance of the award for the meaning it carries. Other special moments included the launch of Rome 2024, in the presence of the President of the Promoting Committee, Luca di Montezemolo, the General Coordinator, Diana Bianchedi, and of Rome's Extraordinary Commissioner, Francesco Paolo Tronca, and the award ceremony for Olympic champions and golden medal Paralympic champions of the past. The closing of the event saw a dedication to the memory of the great master Ezio Triccoli, father of the multi-award winner Jesi Fencing Club, and to the technical expertise La Mura, rowing coach. After the ceremony, seven new plates of honour in the Walk of Fame were uncovered, on Viale delle Oliimpiadi, dedicated to Maurizio Damilano, Gianni De Magistris, Duilio Loi, Francesco Moser, Enrico Fabris, Armin Zoeggeler and – through personal recommendation by the President of CONI – to Dorando Pietri.