MADRID – Six-time Olympic gold medallist Valentina Vezzali, the most decorated fencer in Italian history, is featured in an all new episode of the Olympic Channel original series Legends Live On. Vezzali’s inspiring story from athlete to advocate premieres on Monday, 17 June on olympicchannel.com, its mobile apps and on select connected TV devices, and at 20:10 on Eurosport.
Beyond the spotlight of the Olympic Games where legends are made, the legacy of Olympians live on. In Legends Live On, Olympic heroes show how they are translating their success into careers and inspiring future generations.
Considered to be one of the greatest fencers of all time, Vezzali started fencing at the age of six and would go on to be a five-time Olympian, the first woman in Olympic history to win five gold medals in fencing at Beijing 2008 and the first fencer in the world to have won three individual gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games. The famed foil fencer’s storied career includes a total of nine Olympic medals, six of which are gold, 14 individual and team world titles, nine individual European titles and 14 individual national titles.
Outside of her fencing career, she had other aspirations in addition to her sporting goals which include motherhood, civic duty and social responsibility.
“I wanted to become a mother and have a child, but I didn’t want to give up fencing,” said Vezzali on balancing her dreams. “Four months after the birth of [my son] Pietro in 2005, I couldn’t believe it myself, I had the gold medal around my neck. I had just won my fourth World Championship.”
Following her appearance at London 2012, where she was honoured as her nation’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony, Vezzali was elected to Italy’s Chamber of Deputies where she served from 2013 to 2018.
“After the Olympics in London, I got a call. I was asked to serve my country using the experience I’d gained in the sports world,” said Vezzali. “In Parliament, I tried to promote themes linked to my sector. I fought to protect female athletes who decide to become mothers, for their social protection.”
Today, Vezzali is a mother of two and remains active with social and philanthropic initiatives in her native Italy. Since 2011, she has served as president of Laboratorio 0246, a not-for-profit organization that promotes physical activity and healthy nutrition during a child’s developmental years.
In addition to Vezzali, Olympic legends featured in the current season of Legends Live On include gold medallist Edgar Grospiron, the French freestyle skier turned motivational speaker; alpine skier Tina Maze (SLO), a double gold medallist who is also a pop culture icon in her home country; weightlifter Matthias Steiner (GER), a six time gold medallist and politician; and artistic gymnast Svetlana Khorkina (RUS), one of Russia’s most successful gymnasts of all time who is now a driving force at a sports club in Moscow.
The premiere season of Legends Live On, also available at olympicchannel.com, features Olympic heroes such as Manuela Di Centa (ITA), Nadia Comaneci (ROU), Ian Thorpe (AUS), Shaun White (USA) and Katarina Witt (GER).
Olympic Channel Programming Schedule: Legends Live On (Season 2)
|25 Feb. 2019||Episode 1 – Legends Live On: Edgar Grospiron (FRA)|
|12 Mar. 2019||Episode 2 – Legends Live On: Peter Van den Hoogenband (NED)|
|12 Mar. 2019||Episode 3 – Legends Live On: Tina Maze (SLO)|
|8 Apr. 2019||Episode 4 – Legends Live On: Matthias Steiner (GER)|
|7 May 2019||Episode 5 – Legends Live On: Svetlana Korkhina (RUS)|
|17 June 2019||Episode 6 – Legends Live On: Valentina Vezzali (ITA)|
|24 July 2019||Episode 7 – Legends Live On: Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)|
|12 Aug. 2019||Episode 8 – Legends Live On: Ninas de Oro (ESP)|
|16 Sept. 2019||Episode 9 – Legends Live On: Didier Dinart (FRA)|
|21 Oct. 2019||Episode 10 – Legends Live On: Uschi Disl (GER)|
*Schedule Subject to Change
About the Olympic Channel
The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform global media destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 11 languages. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone, Toyota and Alibaba. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide at olympicchannel.com, its mobile apps and on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and the Roku platform.
The series is available with subtitles in one of 11 languages by selecting the “CC” button found on the lower right of the episode videos. Subtitles are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.