Gymnastics, in Baku the new Butterflies, a tribute to the history of all sports: “We will make an era”

Captain Maurelli: “From combat to discus, from sprint to javelin, a revolutionary exercise towards the Paris 2024 Games”. Live coverage on La 7 and

Simone Battaggia

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A ribbon that becomes a javelin, two girls entangled in combat, another in the blocks of an imaginary sprint, yet another that becomes a statue and a discobola. Five girls on a platform paying homage to the history of sport, in a discipline that has always had a nod to art and which, on the road to Paris 2024, wants to strengthen this link. Five girls – or rather six – who will begin tomorrow in Baku a journey that could lead them to Olympic glory, for what would be the logical conclusion of an extraordinary story of twenty years of method, creativity and dedication.

out of the cage

The butterflies are back. After bronze at the Tokyo Games, after world gold at the end of October in Kitakyushu, the national rhythmic gymnastics team returns to the official competitions of the fourth stage of the 2022 World Cup. then Martina Centofanti, Agnese Duranti, Martina Santandrea, Daniela Mogurean and Laura Paris, born in 2002, reserve in Tokyo and who now come into play because the new regulations allow an athlete to be replaced between one exercise and another. This is not the only novelty: the international federation has established that in the next three years the exercises in the team competitions will take place one with 3 strips and 2 balls and the other with 5 circles. But above all, it has changed the notation codes: until Paris 2024, the attention paid to the artistic aspect will increase, while the technical complexity will no longer be an obsession. “For us it changes a lot – says the captain -, because in Tokyo we had to focus on the difficulties and therefore on the launch of the tools; now the artistic talent, the beauty that you are able to express, the “The story you can tell will matter more on the platform. That’s a point in our favour. In Tokyo, Emanuela Maccarani was a bit overwhelmed by the code, but now she will be able to express herself again.”


The technical director knew how to have fun, we had already understood this on April 1 in Desio during the first semi-official outing of the bilateral Italy-France which saw the start of the two exercises. “Something brilliant has been invented – continues Maurelli -, something innovative. In the exercise with three ribbons and two balls, we will tell the story of Olympic sports. With the ribbon in hand, we will simulate the javelin throw, we will represent a phase of the fight, we will evoke the discus throw and the sprint, all tributes to the Olympic Games of ancient Greece.Then we will gradually give way to basketball, volleyball, swimming, always using our tools. In my opinion this exercise will go down in history because it “It’s rare to see something so original. We are happy to do it, we hope it will be appreciated. We cannot yet say whether it will still be valid for Paris 2024. It is difficult to keep the same exercise for three years, it will be up to Emanuela to assess whether and how much to modify it “. The exercise will take place on the notes from Mercy in Darkness by Two Steps From Hell & Thomas Bergersen, while the one with five balls will be based on They don’t care about Us by Michael Jackson.


Alessia Maurelli speaks with skill and passion that drives the role of captain. She was already present at Rio 2016, with her companions she endured the chaos – emotional, even more than logistical – of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Games. At 25, in a sport that quickly consumes body and mind, he decides to continue for another three years. “To tell the truth, I am the first to be surprised to still be here – says the daughter of Rivoli -. In my plans I should have already given up in 2020, but with the pandemic things have changed in a way unpredictable. I find myself in competition with girls who are ten years younger than me and in gymnastics the age for the body counts a lot, even if the experience helps you. After the world cup in Japan I disconnected during a week. I went home, what we are used to in college or outside for 11 months a year is a luxury, and I forgot about social networks. I wanted to listen to myself, understand what could be the best choice for me. Many girls and boys have written to me asking me to continue. who make you happy. In reflection, I realized that the body and the spirit have not yet given everything” .


Expert team, technical director appreciated all over the world, a rating code that should reward Italian creativity. Regardless of the bitter absence of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus – three of the highest-rated national teams in the world – there are all the prerequisites to create something big on the road leading into September. at the September World Cup in Sofia, which will qualify the top three for the Paris Games. “It’s a special year even beyond what happens to the Russians, the Belarusians and the Ukrainians. Almost all the teams change while we have remained the same and for this reason there is a lot of anticipation. In Baku , we were hoping to find the Ukrainians. . ; they are in the West of their country but unfortunately they could not prepare for the event. They are training in not too good conditions, I hope the fact to continue to pursue their dream can still help them. We hear them often, by their voices we can guess how much they suffer. Even the Russians and the Belarusians are friends, but in Baku they will not be there and it will be strange. The best, however, is to think that in the last stage of the World Cup, from June 3 to 5 in Pesaro, we will return to compete in front of our people. For us, this is a huge boost”.

The program

For the teams, the World Cup stage in Baku (Aze) opens today with the exercise of the 5 circles (at 4 p.m. Italian time), while tomorrow (still at 4 p.m.) it will be the turn of the balloons and ribbons. The individualists are also in competition, with Italy represented by Sofia Raffaeli: today from 10 tests in circles and balls, tomorrow from the same time clubs and ribbon. On Sunday, the specialty finals, both for individualists and for teams: they will be broadcast on La 7 and on from 10. In the team competitions, Russia and Belarus will be absent, as well as the Ukraine. Introduce the Bulgarians, Olympic gold medalists, instead.


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