Larissa Iapichino, the rising star of Italian athletics
Since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Italian athletics has seen remarkable success. Among the standout talents in this field, one young woman stands out: Larissa Iapichino.
Born in 2002, this rising star in the long jump from Florence represents a new generation ready to make their mark in history.
Larissa has been named an ambassador for Fair Play Menarini and has a solid chance of being a key player in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, given her impressive track record.
Even at the junior level, she achieved milestones surpassing even her mother, Fiona May, a renowned figure in the discipline. With Larissa’s father, Gianni Iapichino, being her current coach and a former athletics champion, it’s evident she is destined for greatness.
Her journey to success began in Padua in January 2018 when she set a new Italian junior indoor long jump record at 6.36 meters. Balancing both sports and academics, Larissa earned her high school diploma from a scientific high school and later enrolled in university, pursuing a degree in Law. She serves as a positive example for students aiming to excel in both high-level sports and academics.
At just 21 years old, Larissa is full of energy, determined to face the pressure of international competitions with the mindset that athletics is, above all, a source of joy.
Expressing her thoughts at the XXVII Fair Play Menarini International Award ceremony, where she was celebrated in the ‘A Smile for Life‘ category alongside legends like sprinter Tommie Smith and hurdler Edwin Moses, Larissa said, “Receiving such a prestigious award at a young age is definitely a great honor. Fair Play, to me, means competing cleanly, in a healthy manner, while maintaining the joy and passion that led you to start, even as a professional athlete.“
In 2021, she achieved an incredible 6.91 meters, setting the world indoor under-20 record and matching the absolute national record held by her mother, Fiona May. Although an injury prevented her from participating in the Olympics, Larissa remained resilient.
In 2023, she sought redemption, becoming the indoor European vice-champion with a record-setting 6.97 meters during the indoor season. In the outdoor season, she dominated the Diamond League, winning three stages in Florence, Stockholm, and Monte Carlo, reaching an impressive 6.95 meters. Larissa also secured the U23 European title in Espoo, Finland, with a distance of 6.93 meters.
Larissa reflected on her recent achievements, stating, “The results are the outcome of teamwork, both physically and mentally. After initial years of great success, I felt a bit destabilized. I needed to regain serenity and carefreeness, and now I’m back to competing with happiness.“
Looking ahead to 2024, Larissa faces a pivotal year. In March, she will compete in the Indoor World Championships in Glasgow, with the European Championships in Rome and the Olympic Games in Paris scheduled between June and August. These prestigious events offer Larissa an opportunity to showcase her determination and genuine love for sports, qualities befitting a true Fair Play ambassador.