Italy is ready. One hundred and thirteen athletes to chase the Olympic dream, with a manifesto of purpose marked by a healthy realism, justifiable hopes and an ambitious program, which looks to the future. The Italian Azzurri mission for the XXII Olympic Winter Games was presented by the President of the CONI, Giovanni Malagò, the Secretary General, Roberto Fabbricini and by the Deputy Secretary General and head of the mission in Sochi, Carlo Mornati, during the press conference in Casa Italia in Adler, 24 hours after the Opening Ceremony of the Games.
Malagò opened the meeting with the media speaking of the "positive reaction" received during the course of the work of the IOC Executive taking place in the city of the games. "There is fertile ground for a Italian possible candidacy, a real willingness, an amazing openness: the keywords are sustainability, credibility and youth," said the President, who also expressed satisfaction with the participation of the President of the Council, Enrico Letta, in the Opening Ceremony, as a sign of the "consistent" close proximity to the world of sport, and a sensitivity to the issue of civil rights, "because those who do not take part are always wrong, better to be there and express their thoughts," as was the case during the IOC Executive with the presence of the UN Secretary General, Bank Ki Moon.
No prediction on the outcome of the Games. The reasoning is crystal clear: "In Vancouver we won five medals, this figure is more than disappointing. A higher number is obviously better, but if you get six bronze medals instead of four golds, the assessment changes”. Thanks was also given by the President to the sponsors, (Armani, Fiat, Intesa Sanpaolo, Kinder + Sport and Samsung), to all the partners, to the official suppliers and to Coni Servizi s.p.a, represented by the Director General Michele Uva, for their efforts in implementing the Casa Italia project in Sochi. The Secretary General, Roberto Fabbricini, thanked the Head of the Mission, Carlo Mornati, his first experience in the new role, emphasising how for the first time a former athlete – an Olympic silver medallist in Sydney 2000 – is managing the Italian Azzurri team. "It will not be easy but I think there is a good atmosphere in the group”. It will be a young team, with an average age of under 26 years old (for the first time since Salt Lake 2002), representing Italy at the Games: there is more female presence than in the past, a growing number of newcomers (58), numbers that buck the trends and enhance the sense of planning illustrated by Carlo Mornati, Head of the Mission, celebrated by those present. The day ended with his speech. "I thank the CONI staff for their invaluable work over recent days, the FISI (Italian Winter Sports Federation) and the FISG (Italian Ice Sports Federation) for their cooperation and for their commitment and the volunteers who are helping us to ensure that everything goes according to plan. It's not easy to constantly drive the movement, ensuring the generational change, given the central role of some regions such as Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige, where 80 of the 113 athletes present come from. I hope it is a positive experience which leads to an ambitious discussion in terms of the future. This group does not lack passion, quality and determination." Tomorrow, at the opening ceremony, Italy will march in 32nd place after Spain and ahead of Kazakhstan, on the basis of the Cyrillic alphabet. It will be a banner parade of the athletes.