Olympic champion Antonella Palmisano talks about herself in this interview with NBS: major victories up to Gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Covid, injuries and the ability to reinvent herself, always.
Hi Antonella, thank you for being here with us today.
Let’s start right away with the standard question.
Which victories do you consider most important?
Definitely the 2010 one in Chihuahua., it was the race that allowed me to realize that I could make it to the Absolute; up to that time I was a Junior category, winning a world cup at that age ( I think I was the first Italian woman to win it) made me change kind of mentality, I thought, “okay, I’m not doing it for fun, but I’m doing it because I aspire to more important results.”
And then the most important victory was Tokyo, winning an Olympic gold med al has no equal.
You devote yourself to achieving that result for many years, but you never know if you can actually achieve it.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, moved up a year, to 2021..
Yes, Tokyo 2021, for a sportsman it all revolves around a four-year period; I won’t hide from you that it was difficult to stretch a year, with the Olympics postponed to 2021, in fact several athletes quit, retired, it was not easy from a mental point of view to add that extra year.
Covid disrupted a little bit of everything….
How did you manage to carry on as a professional athlete, with training, during the Covid period?
Let us say that the period was divided into several phases.
The first was when we were told that maybe the Olympics would be canceled. That phase I experienced it a little bit as a mourning, I had as a goal to win the Olympics, I felt I could try, so I really experienced the idea of having to wait another four years.
Then there was the phase in which I felt a kind of acceptance because of what I had been told, I began to see what the priorities were, and I thought, “okay, we are athletes, however, there is something going on in the world that none of us could expect,” so mine could turn out to be almost a whim.
This phase of acceptance allowed me to go through my days waking up in the morning and thinking, “Me and my family are fine, let’s move on.”
Then came the news that the Olympics would only be postponed for a year, so everything was beginning to take on color again.
Our coach was good at putting in new exercises for us to do at home, I was having fun, every day I had a different, challenging workout that allowed me to do a little something.
And then the final phase, in which we athletes belonging to a sports group and qualified for the Olympics were able to resume training; this final phase allowed me to be better off because I could continue training in the barracks, with spacing.
You were able to reinvent yourself and reinvent your training routine….
Yes, being an athlete is also this, being able to reinvent yourself, as in the case of an injury.
Now, for example, I’m coming out of an operation and for training I’m doing something completely different from my usual routine, I’m going to the pool for example, it’s a continuous reinventing.