The opening whistle has blown for the XXVI Fair Play Menarini International Award. This morning, the Salone d’Onore at CONI (the Italian National Olympic Committee) in Rome hosted a press conference announcing the celebration dedicated to the values of sporting ethics. The Fair Play Menarini Foundation, which organises the prestigious recognition, revealed the winners and details of this year’s programme.
The Award, which began in 1997, will see outstanding personalities — in terms of sporting achievements and capacity to act as ambassadors of the essential principles of “fair play” — gathering in Florence and Castiglion Fiorentino (Arezzo). With fifteen categories and sixteen winners, the XXVI Fair Play Menarini International Award brings together exceptional stars of water sports from around the globe, particularly swimming and diving from “la Divina“, Federica Pellegrini, to Australian “race of the century” phenomenon Ian Thorpe and record champion Tania Cagnotto. There are also plenty of VIPs from the world of football, with renowned Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa and two heroes of the pitch, Massimo Ambrosini and Roberto Donadoni. Another legendary footballer this year is Fabrizio Ravanelli, who will be receiving the Paolo Rossi Special Award in the Youth Role Model Category, a title bestowed on the award last year in memory of the 1982 World Cup champion who passed away in 2020. The list of extraordinary talents involved in the upcoming edition also includes Australian motorcycle champion Casey Stoner, Alessandra Perilli, the target-shooting champ who brought home San Marino’s first-ever Olympic medal, and former volleyball player and trainer Marco Bracci. Alongside them are taekwondo athlete Vito Dell’Aquila, winner of a gold medal at Tokyo 2020, and Stefania Constantini, who gave Italy its first-ever Olympic medal for curling with a gold in the mixed doubles. The duo of Giacomo Bertagnolli and Andrea Ravelli will also bring their impressive achievements in Paralympic Alpine skiing to the Fair Play Menarini International Awards. But it is not only professional athletes who will receive awards. The Franco Lauro Special Award Narrare le emozioni (Narrating Emotions) will go to journalist Giorgio Porrà, while Beatrice Coradeschi is the promising young taekwondo athlete who has won the Fiamme Gialle Special Award Studio e Sport (Study and Sport).
“I can’t believe that we’ve made it to the 26th Fair Play Menarini International Awards“, remarked the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malagò. “I am proud of you all for what you do and the message you send, and I am impressed by your capacity to bring these sporting legends together to receive their awards. You are truly unique. Long live Fair Play, the Foundation, sport and Italy.“
“With the Fair Play Menarini Award, we hope that the younger generations will draw inspiration and take an example from the fairness of the awarded champions. – say Lucia and Alberto Giovanni Aleotti, shareholders and members of the Menarini Board – We remember Marcelo Bielsa who called upon his players to let their opponents score, believing that fair play is more important than what might have been an unfair goal. That match ended in a tie, but Bielsa will always be remembered for that noble gesture which we are proud to celebrate today.”
“We are very excited about the list of winners in the first awards organised by us” announced Antonello Biscini, Valeria Speroni Cardi and Ennio Troiano, the Board members of the Fair Play Menarini Foundation. “The event’s first quarter-century may be behind us, but our attention is focused on the future and how best to celebrate this and all subsequent editions, which will be packed with surprises and sporting greats. Menarini will continue to promote the values of Fair Play through the achievements of sport’s top champions in the hope that these values will become an ever-greater part of society as a whole.“
While remaining true to the traditions of its long history, the three days of the XXVI Fair Play Menarini International Award will take an ambitious new approach. One of the most important changes concerns the locations. Florence will be where these sports legends come together, in Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento, for the talk show I campioni si raccontano (Champions Tell Their Stories), led by Ivan Zazzaroni and broadcast live on TV on the RTV38 channel on the evening of Tuesday 5 July. Then, there will be that the traditional Menarini gala dinner will be held in Florence in Piazzale Michelangelo on Wednesday 6 July.
The award ceremony presentation has been entrusted to Lorenzo Dallari and Rachele Sangiuliano and will be held in Castiglion Fiorentino in the magnificent setting of Loggiato Vasariano in Piazza del Municipio on Thursday 7 July, with a live TV broadcast on Sportitalia.
The categories and winners of the XXVI Fair Play Menarini International Award are:
– Category: Carriera Fair Play (Career in Fair Play) — ROBERTO DONADONI
– Category: Fair Play — MASSIMO AMBROSINI
– Category: Lo sport oltre lo sport (Sport Beyond Sport) — GIACOMO BERTAGNOLLI and ANDREA RAVELLI (a single award with two plaques)
– Category: Il Gesto (The Gesture) — MARCELO BIELSA
– Category: Sport e vita (Sport and Life) — CASEY STONER
– Category: Una vita per lo sport (Lifetime Achievement in Sport) — MARCO BRACCI
– Category: Personaggio mito (Legendary Figures) — IAN THORPE
– Category: SUSTENIUM Energia e Cuore – Personaggio mito (Legendary Figures) — FEDERICA PELLEGRINI
– Category: Paolo Rossi Special Award Modello per i giovani (Youth Role Model) — FABRIZIO RAVANELLI
– Category: I valori sociali dello sport (Social Values in Sport) — VITO DELL’AQUILA
– Category: Promozione dello sport (Promotion of Sport) — ALESSANDRA PERILLI
– Category: Un sorriso per la vita (A Smile for Life) — TANIA CAGNOTTO
– Category: I valori educativi dello sport (Educational Values in Sport) — STEFANIA CONSTANTINI
– Category: Franco Lauro Special Award Narrare le emozioni (Narrating Emotions) — GIORGIO PORRÀ
– Category: Fiamme Gialle Special Award Studio e Sport (Study and Sport) — BEATRICE CORADESCHI
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