Past Athletes

Personal Data

Surname: VezzaliFirstname: ValentinaCountry: ItalyDate of birth: 1974-02-14Birthplace : JesiHeight: 164 cmWeight: 53.0 kg

Career Data

Discipline: FoilOlympic Games (7 medals - 5 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)World Championships (21 medals - 13 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze)European Championships (16 medals - 10 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze)World Cup
  • Individual foil: 1st (2000, 2004, 2008), 2nd (1996)
  • Team: 1st (1996, 2000), 3rd (2008)
  • Individual: 1st (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011), 2nd (1994, 2006), 3rd (1995, 1998, 2010)
  • Team: 1st (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2010), 2nd (1994, 2006, 2011)
  • Individual: 1st (1998, 1999, 2001, 2009, 2010), 2nd (2003, 2007, 2011), 3rd (1993)
  • Team: 1st (1999, 2001, 2009, 2010, 2011), 2nd (2003), 3rd (1998)
  • Overall standings: 1st (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010) 2nd (1995,1998)


Fencing superstarRecord medal haul

History could be in the making as Italian fencer Valentina Vezzali attempts to become the first woman ever to win a fourth straight Olympic title in London.

Having already claimed the foil at Sydney, Athens and Beijing, and let's not forget she won silver at Salt Lake, a fourth gold in London would put her in the exclusive company of Carl Lewis (long jump) in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 and Al Oerter, discus in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968.

The Cobra, as she is sometimes called because of her deadly strike, will be 38-years-old at the 2012 Games and is already in possession of a trophy cabinet coming down under the weight of a medal haul that beggars belief.

Even in November 2011, just 8 months ahead of the Games, "Double V" (another of her nicknames), lifted her sixth individual world championships title.

At Beijing, Vezzali joined an elite group of women who had won three straight titles in the Soviet era gymnast Larissa Latynina (floor), and two swimmers, Australia's Dawn Fraser in the 100m freestyle and Hungary's Krisztina Egerszegi (200m backstroke).

Before regaining the world crown in Catania in 2011 she hadn't won it for four years having previously tasted glory in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

She won her first individual title at the Europeans in 1998, and has been on the podium at almost everything she entered since, be it European, World or Olympic.

The significant breakthrough Vezzali richly deserved came at the Sydney Games in 2000 where she swept to the individual gold medal and four years later in Athens, she beat compatriot and teammate Giovanna Trillini in her third straight final.

Her historic third Olympic crown at Beijing saw her overcome South Korea's Nam Hyun-hee, while no other fencer has achieved a third straight crown.

A brilliant team fencer, the Italians are a match for anyone and she has been part of two Olympic winning sides and been to ten world finals, winning seven.

Her strengths lie in her intuition and inspiration and she is most at ease when forced to defend - giving her opportunities to launch merciless counter-attacks.

Going into the Games she has an astonishing 44 medals, a record, in world, European and Olympic events. She is a national hero in her homeland of Italy and has had official honors bestowed on her by the government.

Vezzali is married and has a son and has been fencing since the age of six. Quite when she will decide to stop is anyone's guess.


Italy's Maria Valentina Vezzali celebrates with her coach after winning the Women's individual Foil final match over Korea's Nam Huynhee (unseen) on August 11, 2008 at the Fencing Hall of National Convention center, as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Vezzali won the event ahead of Korea's Nam Huynhee and fellow countrywoman Margharita Granbassi.          AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISValentina Vezzali of Italy fights with compatriot Giovanna Trillini (L) in the women's Olympic individual foil competition at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens 18 August 2004. Vezzali won the gold, the silver medal went to Giovanna Trillini of Italy and the bronze to Sylwia Gruchala of Poland. AFP PHOTO ARIS MESSINISItaly's Valentina Vezzali poses with the gold medal on the podium of the Women's Foil at the 2011 World Fencing Championships in Catania on October 11, 2011.  Vezzali won gold while her compatriot Elisa Di Francisca took silver.  AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACEItaliy's Valentina Vezzali (top) is congratulated by her teammates after winning the title in the Women's Foil competition of the 2005 Fencing World Championships, 09 October 2005 in Leipzig. Germany's Anja Mueller took the Silver medal, Hungary's Edina Knapek and France's Adeline Wuilleme both took Bronze.    AFP PHOTO    DDP/ROBERT MICHAEL    GERMANY OUTValentina Vezzali of Italy (L) duels with her compatriot Margherita Grabassi in the final match of the Fencing World Championship 04 October 2007, in Saint Petersburg. Vezzali won the Gold medal.  AFP PHOTO / MAXIM MARMURItaly's Valentina Vezzali kisses her gold medal at the end of the podium ceremony after the Women's individual foil fencing final, at the Helliniko fencing hall in Athens, 18 August 2004, during the 2004 Olympic Games. Vezzali won gold, her compatriot Giovanna Trillini took silver and Poland's Sylwia Gruchala received bronze.  AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS
1United States462929104
3Great Britain29171965
5South Korea138728

With only eight athletes in six sporting events for the London Games, this will be PH's smallest delegation since 1996.

The Philippines has only won medals in three events since joining the Olympics in 1924.

The largest delegation the Philippines has ever sent to the Games was 53 in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The Philippines has not won a medal since Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco settled for silver in boxing via a controversial decision during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

1972 was the last year the Philippine men's basketball team, which then paraded William 'Bogs' Adornado, Danny Florencio and Yoyong Martirez among others in its line up, has qualified for the Olympics.

Arianne Cerdena won a gold in bowling at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but Cerdena's gold was not included in the medal tally since bowling was considered only as a demonstration sport.

The Philippines will shoot for its first gold medal in six of the following events in the 2012 London Olympics: Athletics, BMX, Boxing, Cycling, Shooting and Swimming.

The Philippine basketball team wound up fifth place—best finish for an Asian country in the Olympics to date—in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the first time basketball was played as an Olympic sport.

The Philippines participated in the Winter Olympics three times, in 1972 (Juan Cipriano and Ben Nanasca, alpine skiing), in 1988 (Raymund Ocampo, luge) and in 1992 (Michael Teruel, alpine skiing).

Mary Antoinette Rivero's tie for fifth place in Taekwondo is the closest any Filipino athlete came to a medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The Philippines is the first nation in the tropics to ever participate in the Winter Olympic Games.

John Baylon, a nine-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, and Jerry Diño were the last Filipino Olympic qualifiers in the discipline Judo, having vied in the 1992 Barcelona Games.

The men's Philippine Basketball team is the first country to ever score 100 or more points in the 1948 Olympics after clobbering Iraq,102-30.

The Philippines is the first country to compete and win an Olympic medal among Southeast Asian countries.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, though not competing, carries the Philippine flag at the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Philippines last reached the final round swimming 80 years ago when Jikirum Adjaluddin and Teofilo Yldefonso ended up in the final six in the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

Teofilo Yldefonso is the first Filipino to win a medal and the only one to take home multiple medals. He finished third both in the Men's 200 meter breastroke during the 1928 and 1932 Olympics.

Harry Tañamor, the only Filipino predicted to win by the Sports Illustrated in its Olympic Preview edition, bows out in the first match up in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Philippines holds the record for winning the most medals without a gold haul with seven bronze and two silvers for a total of nine.

Men's boxing has for medals in the Olympics with Anthony Villanueva, silver in the Featherweight Division of the 1964 Games in Tokyo; Leopoldo Serantes, third in 1988 Seoul; Roel Velasco, third in Barcelona; and his brother Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco, second in the 1996 Atlanta Games.