A choice that writes history. The Italian National Olympic Committee, for the first time since the introduction of the flag bearer figure - the Stockholm Games 1912, when the role was allocated to gymnast Alberto Braglia - approved a double designation ahead of Tokyo 2020, in compliance with the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee.
It is also a 'first' in the absolute sense: Olympians Jessica Rossi and Elia Viviani will be the flag bearers of the Italia Team in the opening ceremony of the XXXII edition of the Summer Olympic Games, representing Shooting and Cycling, two disciplines that have had never had the honour of seeing their athletes nominated on the occasion of the solemn moment that marks the start of the five-circle event. The President of CONI, Giovanni Malagò, made the choice official this morning at the Board which met at the CONI Hall of Honour at the Foro Italico.
Cycling and Shooting are two disciplines that have made Italy’s league championships proud: together, they have won almost 100 Olympic medals, 15% of the total for Italy and around one quarter of the overall gold medals of the Italian league championships. The two Italian flag bearers boast a number one gold roll.
Jessica Rossi, Olympic Trap Shooting Champion, was born in Cento (Ferrara) on 7 January 1992 and registered with the Fiamme Oro. A girl prodigy capable of winning the World Cup (Maribor 2009) and conquering the European title (Osijek 2009) at just 17 years old, she triumphed at the London 2012 Games, winning gold thanks to an amazing world record, 99/100, becoming the second youngest Italian athlete in history to win an individual Olympic gold, beaten for a few months only by Federica Pellegrini.
She was also the first Italian athlete to become Olympic champion in her speciality, Trap Shooting. After winning gold in London, she won gold at the 2013 World Cup in Lima and the 2017 World Cup in Maribor. Overall, she also boasts 5 golds at the European Championships and one gold at the 2013 Mediterranean Games in Mersin.
Elia Viviani, gold medal winner in the Omnium at Rio 2016, is a universal cyclist: she excels both on the road and on the track. She was born in Isola della Scala, in the province of Verona and began to write her competitive tale in 1998, collecting numerous successes on a youth level. In 2005, she won two golds at the European Youth Festival in Lignano Sabbiadoro, decreeing her sacred pact with the Italian team jersey.
In 2010, she was selected by Team Liquigas, her first professional team. During her career, she has won 12 overall medals at the European Championships on track, in all specialities (with 8 golds, one silver and 3 bronzes) and 3 world podiums (two silvers and one bronze). Currently registered for Cofidis, on the road, she has won a European gold (in 2019) and a silver (2017), in addition to countless victories in the World Cup and in the classics: she also signed up for certain stages of the Giro d ' Italy, Tour de France and Vuelta.
Her gem, forever embedded in the history of Italian sport, is her success on the track in the latest edition of the Games. The last Olympic podiums on the track went back to Sydney 2000, thanks to Antonella Bellutti (gold in the points race), Marco Villa and Silvio Martinelli (bronze in the American), with the latter also signing the last men's triumph in Atlanta 1996.
Jessica and Elia will be waving the flag on 23 July at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, highlighting the ambitions of a mission that aims to amaze.