CONI and Panini officially presented the new stickers collection called “Italian Team – Rio 2016”, which contains the images of Italian male and female athletes who are going to partake in the Olympics in Brazil. The famous company from Modena delivered the first copies of the collection to the president Giovanni Malagò, the flagship Federica Pellegrini, and to dozens of athletes who are presently preparing to leave for Brazil. There are 315 stickers representing almost all of the athletes who will go to Rio. I say “almost” because the album does not include the Paralympics, that is, the handicapped athletes. A “slap” in the face of the whole world, which certainly does not like this choice.
“What a nice initiative, Panini! – said, with a bit of sarcasm, lieutenant colonel Gianfranco Paglia, captain of the first Paralympic team of Defense with a wire. He was the one to launch the Italy in Rio 2016 stickers collection. Too bad, it does not say a single word about the Paralympic world, which represents Italy in the world just like the others, obtaining remarkable success.
The Paralympic Team was born after a memorandum of understanding signed by CIP and the Italian Ministry of Defense, which gave the military who had been injured on duty the opportunity to keep serving their country in a different way. The team consist of shining examples of determination and will, people born with a disability or people who had to change their life after an illness or an accident. Or – as in the case of the military – struck on a mission (one of whom is Monica Contraffatto, gold-medalist bersagliere, who was wounded and lost a leg in Afghanistan in 2012, during a Taliban attack).
“Their commitment – Paglia went on to say – and the sacrifice is equal to that of able-bodied athletes. The medals they have won so far are the result of dedication, determination, and of desire to prove that despite hardships, we always have to live our life fully. It would be desirable – said the gold medalist for military valor – to show greater attention and sensitivity to the Paralympic world. The latter has many stories to tell and bear testimony to life experiences that are powerful to the point that they can tear down barriers, especially mental ones. I imagine that Panini’s initiative will take into account those athletes in the near future. They are not second to anyone and are treated with the same ceremonies, starting with the flag they receive from the President of the Republic. I am sure and I hope that such slips are only due to lack of information and that Paralympic athletes will be given the importance they deserve.”
A few days have passed after the presentation of this collection and nothing has changed. The collection “Italian Team – Rio 2016”, available since June 22 in every newsagent, is divided into 315 large format stickers (40 of which are metal), and 45 pieces reproducing the official symbols of the disciplines and the calendar of the races. The stickers are to be collected in a large album (64 pages), with an elegant cover. “Panini has not intervened so far – Paglia concluded.”
The stickers are the athletes’ ‘identity cards’. Besides their photo, they contain a lot of information (date and place of birth, weight and height, specialty any individual Olympic successes, etc.). Each section contains also Italy’s all-time medals in different disciplines. Maybe, there was not enough room to tell the life stories of these heroes of modern history…