Baby saw it is a river in flood. Always. In person. On Zoom. On the telephone. In any way you come into contact with her, you are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for sport, for projects, for life and by the optimism that accompanies the presentation of the Bebe Vio Academy with Nike, the first Italian academy in favor of inclusive sport with the aim of involving children with physical disabilities and able-bodied children in the practice of sport, because “sport is for everyone”.
“We are lucky enough to live in a nation,” he explains, “which is well organized at the Paralympic level.
There are 19 federations, if not more, which include an Olympic side and a non-divisional Paralympic side. We were the first in fencing. Sport in Italy is much more inclusive than in other countries. We are very strong, but we want to do even more starting with the boys ». The organization of the Bebe Vio Academy is entrusted to art4sport Onlus, the association created by the will of the world champion and her family to promote sport as an instrument of social integration and personal fulfillment.
Italy has already made progress and Bebe Vio tells it with an example that is not sporting. “In Trastevere, a few days ago, a Dutch girl told me that here they compliment her on her prosthesis with glitter. In other countries it is not the same ». The Academy wants to increase the integration that already exists with children and young people aged 6 to 18: “A generation of” little monsters “who split the world through sport”.
They will not only be disabled, but also able-bodied who will try Paralympic sport. There Bebe Vio Academy will take care of all kinds of physical disabilities. “Everyone can and must try everything”, adds the Paralympic champion, “because you are not always lucky enough to immediately fall in love with the sport of your life”. The sports are: sitting volleyball, fencing and wheelchair basketball, soccer amputees and athletics.
“We are very excited because we know that much can be achieved through sport from the point of view of inclusion,” explains Bebe Vio. In the Academy there will be sports and education together. «The students of the Catholic University will come and get their training credits with us. It will be the basis of a training and work path for future coaches, teachers, physiotherapists. It’s cool to work together and improve at the same time».
The Academy starts in Milan with two gyms from September: Bicocca and Centro Sportivo Iseo. Both are already equipped for the disabled. The project will run for three years in the city and the hope is to reach other cities. Another is certainty. «We want to leave something to Milano where there is no amputee football club or wheelchair basketball club. An architectural and cultural improvement, but also the creation of companies, groups, trained and equipped teachers ».
It is not just for sport, but to improve the lives of the disabled. «The coaches will be young and will teach things that are needed every day. I’m lucky, amputation is an easy disability. The real difficulties are in wheelchairs, in paraplegies. The gym is not just doing situps to win a race, but improving the transition from wheelchair to car, moving to the bathroom. Sport improves the perception of your body, self-esteem, the ability to help others. At my first Olympics I thought I was going to see disabled people playing sports, but in London I saw athletes playing sports ».
The Bebe Vio Academy invites kids to play sports, but expects these kids to become a source of inspiration for everyone. And will Bebe Vio go to the gym to inspire? «Of course, do you think I watch the others who train? Many Olympic and Paralympic athletes, thanks to the contribution of Nike, they will come to the gym to train with the boys, to play and have fun ».