The skater was our standard-bearer: think about it in view of Milan-Cortina

    Harsh words. “Until those decisions and actions are approved, I will not be returning. And should I decide to compete in the future, my path will be completely separate from what the technical director and his staff have planned for the Italian group. In that case, I will be sorry I don’t train with the rest of the Italian athletes, but my trust in the technical and federal staff is irrecoverable”. Words from Arianna Fontana, the queen of the short track, almost a year after the glorious and at the same time poisonous Beijing Games. Words which, in summary, say only one thing: a change of flag for the next Olympics, that of Milan-Cortina, practically on the doorstep. And, in this case, the flag could be the one with stars and stripes.

    There’s time

    At the moment the consolation is that the opening ceremony of the Milan-Cortina Games is still 1107 days away, that is 3 years and a little more. There is therefore plenty of time to mend a situation that has deteriorated for some time, up to the explosion in the days of the last Olympic triumphs on the ice in Beijing. In China, in her fifth consecutive five-circle participation, Arianna took another gold and two silvers, becoming the blue – including men – with the most medals at the Winter Games: always on the podium in every edition, for a total of eleven appearances, only two less than the absolute record of the fencer Edoardo Mangiarotti. The thirty-two-year-old figure skater from Valtellina – a collection of medals worthy of a jeweler – in Beijing blew up all her frustration in front of notebooks and television cameras, daughter of years and years of tensions within the blue team and misunderstandings with the Federation, also thanks to the badly tolerated role of her coach, her Italian-American husband Anthony Lobello, former Olympian first with the US national team and then with the blue one. The zenith touched him accusing some companions – and one of her in particular – of having even tried to make her fall on the ice. From there a chain reaction was triggered, a string of accusations and counter-accusations, with the president of Coni, Giovanni Malagò, in the role of the firefighter, to try not to ruin the multi-medal-winning blue expedition to China with further controversies. Already then Arianna threw out the threat of being ready to change nationality if she did not find satisfaction with her requests. But now, faced with this other either-or, everything must be done to mend the relationship, in the common interest.


    Because the photograph of a Fountain – an indisputable heritage of Italian sport – which perhaps wins another Olympic gold with the colors of the USA, or of another nation, is unimaginable. And we believe that the person directly concerned would not like it either, who even paraded as a tricolor flag bearer at PyeongChang 2018. Arianna try to think of herself in front of her compatriots while the stars and stripes flag rises on the Olympic flagpole and the notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” echo in the air… Coni and Federghiaccio on one side, athlete and coach on the other , they have to sit down and find an understanding. If needed, even with the mediation of the new sports minister Andrea Abodi. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.