At the World Championships in Sofia 2022, Italian rhythmic gymnastics won with record numbers: 9 medals, 5 of which gold. Italy is first for nations. It had never happened in the history of a little-regarded sport until recently. Sofia Raffaeli then returns home as a true star. The eighteen year old from Marche takes home the title of world champion after having already won two golds in the ball and hoop tools just two days before and in about half an hour. They call her “the atomic ant” because it is really impossible to believe that a wren like her can turn, on a platform, into a prodigious fury. 157 cm for 40 kg (unofficial numbers), the shy smile hidden by a device, Sofia made a clean sweep of all the opponents. And it is not the first time. To date she is the individualist gymnast who has obtained the highest score ever in an official competition and has also managed to change the international code by inventing a relevé turn with a 180 ° leg: the “Raffaeli” turn, in fact. All this while she was graduating from the High School of Human Sciences and she equipped a gym in the living room to train herself during Covid. The blue team coached by Manuela Maccarani was not far behind, winning a gold in the 5-circle exercise and silver in the mixed ribbon and balls. The “butterflies”, as they are now defined in the world for the gracefulness and coordination of their movements, must be given the greatest merit: that of having brought into vogue – also on the stage of the Sanremo Festival and in TV advertising – a sport considered ‘minor’. The captain of the Azzurre Alessia Maurelli retraced for the newspaper “La Ragione” a World Cup that started very badly and ended in glory: «Friday was probably just a bad day. We are used to winning, at most losing doing well but not losing doing very badly. We got the exercise completely wrong. The thing that makes us proud, therefore, is not so much the two medals on Sunday but our ability to react. We have already concentrated on doing well and better on the last day since Friday evening. Obviously, these two medals do not give us back the Olympic pass that vanished two days earlier, but they are a great confidence boost because we didn’t have to prove anything to anyone but ourselves that that platform belongs to us. “Alessia Maurelli, born in 1996, is captain of the rhythm team since 2016 and is not used to “bad days”. He led the team to victory in six World and five European Championships, in addition to the historic bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Games. An Olympics that remained in the heart “because they were tough years, one in full pandemic without competitions and then the Five Circles behind closed doors. . In these days it has been wonderful to compete again with the public who have shown us all their affection “. And to the indiscreet question but not too much about who was greeting on the podium with so much emotion, he replies without conceding anything to the gossip: “My parents but above all my brother, who was present there. In general, there are many friends and the” people rhythmics “follows us everywhere. Nobody stopped believing in us and we didn’t”. As for the successes of her colleague-friend Raffaeli, Alessia Maurelli reveals that she has known Sofia “since she was 5 years old. ‘we have seen her grow. Today, she is the world champion, she has shown everyone that she is the undisputed queen of rhythmics. . For us, too”.
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