ROME, June 19th, 2023 - The winners of the XXVII annual Fair Play Menarini International Awards are no longer a secret. This morning at the CONI Hall of Honour, a press conference was held to present the 2023 edition of the awards, scheduled from July 3rd to 5th in Florence and Fiesole. In the presence of Giovanni Malagò, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), the Fair Play Menarini Foundation unveiled the list of this year’s winners to be celebrated at the event which has promoted the values of ethics, loyalty and respect through the example of Italian and international sport legends since 1997.
Once again this year, the event will bring together champions of undisputed talent who also embody the noblest principles of sport. Football will be represented by three giants: Javier Zanetti, the historic captain of Inter, Marcelo Bielsa, Uruguay's new coach, and former world champion and coach Antonio Cabrini. Demonstrating fair play in swimming are underwater idol Massimiliano Rosolino and Paralympic champion Giulia Ghiretti. Winter sports athletes to be honoured are alpine skiing and biathlon stars Deborah Compagnoni and Lisa Vittozzi respectively, while team sports winners are “El General”, NBA champion Luis Alberto Scola Balvoa, and former coach of the Iranian women's national volleyball team, Alessandra Campedelli. For fencing, outstanding Elisa di Francisca will be acknowledged, in addition to track and field athlete Larissa Iapichino, who triumphed in the long jump at the last Golden Gala. Lastly, the fair play award for sports journalism this year will go to the recently nominated director of Rai Sport, Jacopo Volpi.
"We are delighted to host the presentation of the XXVII edition of these Awards, which are increasingly becoming part of the heritage of Italian sport" - declared Giovanni Malagò, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI). "Congratulations to the Fair Play Menarini Foundation for their commitment towards continuing the tradition of this event: over the years I have seen how it has developed and how proud awardees are, thanks to the meaning of the award itself. The idea of introducing into the awards an acknowledgment for young athletes is testament to just how the awards have progressed and the horizons they now embrace.”
A delegation of Fair Play Menarini Ambassadors who have been awarded the prize in previous editions will also take part in the July events. Among them sprinter Tommie Smith, a symbol in the fight against racial discrimination, Edwin Moses, four-time world record holder in the 400m hurdles, as well as the“Divine”Federica Pellegrini. Famous football innovator Arrigo Sacchi, and the icon of the Fiorentina football team, Giancarlo Antognoni, shall also be participating. Additionally, the event will commemorate Pietro Mennea, awarded in the 2003 edition. Accepting this honour will be his wife, Manuela Olivieri.
Alongside the more experienced champions are three young athletes, Mariaclotilde Adosini, Emilia Rossatti and Giorgio Pietro Torrisi, who today, during the press conference at CONI, received the Fair Play Menarini Award in the “Fair Play Young Athletes” category. Finally, the special Fiamme Gialle (Yellow Flames)“Studio and Sport”prize was also announced and awardee swimmer Gianluca Gensini will be receiving his prize in Florence, next 27th June.
"The awards have been enriched with the introduction of the new‘Young Athletes category,”commented Cosimo Guccione, Councillor for Sport and Youth Policies in the Municipality of Florence.“Sport is the third most important teaching ground, following on from the family environment and school: if we want to have an impact on future generations, it is important to educate them on sharing, brotherhood, solidarity and respect for each other. Teaching fair play is like teaching civic education.”
The city of Florence will host the first two events of the Fair Play Menarini International Awards. On Monday July 3rd in Piazza della Signoria, the event will officially be opened with the talk show 'The Champions tell their Stories', hosted by Ivan Zazzaroni and broadcast live on RTV38. A traditional gala dinner will take place in Piazzale Michelangelo on Tuesday July 4th whilst the awards ceremony will be held for the first time in Fiesole on Wednesday July 5th in the evocative setting of the Roman Theatre.
"We are very proud to welcome to our Municipality great legends of sport and role models of competitive loyalty" commented Anna Ravoni, Mayor of Fiesole. "I am convinced that all the participants will enjoy an unforgettable evening that celebrates the honourable values of sport and which the Fair Play Menarini International Awards has promoted for years.”
A double musical surprise awaits the public: the Roman Theatre will welcome the unmistakable voices of Neri per Caso, following on from the swing band Papillon. The event will be hosted by Lorenzo Dallari and Rachele Sangiuliano and broadcast the following day on Sportitalia.
"The life stories of the prize-winners and Ambassadors of the Fair Play Menarini Awards are examples for everyone, not just for those who make sport their career,” say Antonello Biscini, Valeria Speroni Cardi and Ennio Troiano, members of the Board of the Fair Play Menarini Foundation. “We hope that particularly the younger generations may find inspiration in the loyal gestures and behaviours of these outstanding champions and adopt them in shaping their own future.”
Below are the winners and categories of the XXVII Menarini International Fair Play Awards:
- JAVIER ZANETTI, “Legendary Figure” Category
- DEBORAH COMPAGNONI, “Career Fair Play” Category
- ALESSANDRA CAMPEDELLI, “The Social Values of Sport” Category
- ANTONIO CABRINI, “Role Model” Paolo Rossi Special Prize Category
- ELISA DI FRANCISCA, “Sport and Courage” Category
- GIULIA GHIRETTI, “Sport Beyond Sport” SUSTENIUM Energy and Heart Category
- LARISSA IAPICHINO, “A Smile for Life” Category
- MASSIMILIANO ROSOLINO, “Sport Promotion” Category
- LUIS ALBERTO SCOLA BALVOA, “Fair Play” Category
- LISA VITTOZZI, “Fair Play and the Environment” Category
- JACOPO VOLPI, “Narrating Emotions” Special Prize Franco Lauro Category
- MARCELO BIELSA, “Gesture of Fair Play ” Category
- MARIACLOTILDE ADOSINI, “Fair Play Young Athletes” Category
- EMILIA ROSSATTI, “Fair Play Young Athletes” Category
- GIORGIO PIETRO TORRISI, “Fair Play Young Athletes” Category
- GIANLUCA GENSINI, “Studio and Sport” Special Prize Fiamme Gialle (Yellow Flames) Category