Beijing 2022, the Games close. Malagò: “7 and a half expedition”

The president of Coni: “We did well, we have prestige in the world of sport”

A record edition, the second winter ever for number of medals. On the closing day of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Gamesthe president of Coni, Giovanni Malagò and the general secretary and head of mission, Carlo Mornati, at Casa Italia take stock of the Italian expedition to China. And the numbers smile to the blues: Beijing 2022 is, in fact, the second edition ever with 17 medals – 2 golds, 7 silvers and 8 bronzes – after Lillehammer 1994 (which was an edition held two years after the previous one and not after a four years). Compared to PyeongChang 2018 Italy Team grows by 70% (in Korea there were 10 podiums): starting from a previous winter edition in double figures, there has never been such a large growth, going to medal in two of the 4 new mixed specialties (the short track relay and the mixed snowboard cross).

The vote, in my opinion, is 7 and a half: we did well. The Olympic preparation, communication, the whole part of Casa Italia, the athletes. I have always said that we would have won between 13 and 17 medals but no one can think that, when you win 17, only two are gold – the comment of President Malagò -. A numerical reading could summarize that Italians are much better at winning medals than golds. A matter of pennies, injuries, judgments, but it’s something to think about. But from a quantitative point of view it remains a record shipment ”.

On a general level, compared to PyeongChang, among the big countries only Russia has grown more than Italy, while not even China, which competed at home, has managed to have a percentage growth like ours. Of the 19 Italian medalists, the third largest number ever, 9 are athletes, 10 are female athletes. In fact, Beijing 2022 was once again an Olympics for women with 52.94% female medals, 29.41% men and 17.65% mixed medals. The medals come from seven regions, but of this ranking, dominated for the second consecutive edition by Lombardy, curiously the first four regions (almost 85% of all medals) are the ones that will give life to the next edition of Milan Cortina 2026: namely Lombardy, Veneto, the province of Bolzano and Trento.

With its 119 athletes (82 men and 47 women) the Italia Team went to the medal in eight different disciplines: something that has never happened in history. Suffice it to say that in the most successful edition (Lillehammer 1994) Italy won the medal in ‘only’ 5 disciplines. Better than the Azzurri in China, only Russia, Canada and Norway have played with 9 disciplines. From the qualitative point of view of the medal table this can be an element of weakness, but from that of sporting culture this is an added value that we have. We are multidisciplinary and eclectic. It is an element of great strength, of profound pride ”, adds Malagò. And despite the growing number of countries that win gold (22 against 21 in PyeongChang), those with medals are decreasing (29 against 30).

In seven months the world has played two Olympics for the first time (Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022), in full pandemic from Covid 19 and Italy in the sum of the medals won with 57 podiums is seventh behind the United States, China, Russia, Gran Britain, Germany and Japan, while for disciplines you go to the medal, third behind only the United States and Russia. Mornati explains Coni’s approach to these Games: “From an organizational point of view it was the most difficult but the best organized Olympics – the words of the head of Olympic Preparation -. It is the first organized remotely and we did everything respecting strict rules. We were the only committee out of 91 present to create Casa Italia, never officially defined as hospitality house, here and in Yanqing. The contracts were only signed on January 26 and January 29. 2,400 of the 16,300 on the bill passed through Casa Italia ”.

Then Mornati focuses on the work done behind the scenes with the athletes. “Of 119 athletes here, 65 passed directly to our Sports Science Institute, as did 14 of the 19 medalists. Among the eight disciplines in which we went medal out of 5 there was a greater impact with the Institute ”. Many medals that correspond to a large prize to be paid to our champions. “We are talking about 2.3 million euros in prizes and almost half a million for our Olympic Club. Of the 45 million euros that CONI receives every year as a public grant, 12 and a half million are paid to the athletes of Tokyo 2020 and Beijing through prizes and the Olympic Club “.

Some records: the Fisi has grown by 50%, the FISG has even doubled with an absolute record of medals won (eight). At the level of athletes, on the other hand, Arianna Fontana, winner of a gold and two silvers, has become the most medalized female athlete in the history of Italian sport (summer and winter) and only two medals from Edoardo Mangiarotti who, however, compared to Arianna made 6 Olympics while Arianna has now reached 5. Arianna also has the record of being the only woman at the Winter Olympics to have medaled in 5 consecutive editions (equaling Armin Zoeggeler among males); Dorothea Wierer with bronze in the sprint became the first Italian woman to win an individual medal at the Games in biathlon; Francesca Lollobrigida instead gave Italy the first female medals in the history of speed skating.

The gold of Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner is the first medal ever won by Italy in curling at the Games; Omar Visintin won the first medal for Italy in men’s snowboard cross; Federica Brignone, silver at 31 years and 208 days, is the oldest skier ever to win a medal in the Olympic giant slalom as well as being the first Italian ever on the Olympic podium in the specialty, in 86 years of history and the second Italian skier to climb the podium twice in an Olympics (after Deborah Compagnoni, Nagano 1998).

Brignone is also the fifth blue to win a medal in the same discipline at least twice (the others are Deborah Compagnoni, Gustav Thoeni, Isolde Kostner and Alberto Tomba, who finished three medals). A result obtained a few days later by Sofia Goggia, gold in PyeongChang2018 and silver in Beijing 2022, who is now the only blue to have succeeded consecutively downhill: never had there been a women’s downhill podium at the Games with two blue. This is thanks to Goggia and Nadia Delago (the only previous female in the Super G of Salt Lake with Ceccarelli gold and Putzer bronze). “The average age of the medalists is slightly higher than that of PyeongChang, we are in the number of 26 years. I think it is an excellent signal for Milan-Cortina 2026 ”.