Zanetti, Pellegrini, Iapichino and Cabrini: Fair play values at the core of the XXVII edition of the Fair Play Menarini International Award
The XXVII edition of the Fair Play Menarini International Award concluded with great success. Three days dedicated to sports, with enthusiastic participation from both the public and the athletes, took place in Florence and Fiesole.
The events have kept the focus on the philosophy of fair play, which served as the guiding principle throughout the activities held in the beautiful locations of the Florentine metropolitan area.
The program for 2023 began with the talk show “I campioni si raccontano” (Champions tell their stories) on Monday, July 3, followed by the gala dinner on Tuesday, July 4, and culminated in the awards ceremony on Wednesday, July 5.
Conversations in Piazza della Signoria with Edwin Moses, Giancarlo Antognoni, Tommie Smith and Arrigo Sacchi
Legends such as Edwin Moses, Tommie Smith, Arrigo Sacchi and Giancarlo Antognoni took center stage at the talk show “I campioni si raccontano”, hosted by journalist Ivan Zazzaroni with the magnificent background of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
During the engaging conversation, the guests showcased their remarkable depth as Fair Play Menarini Ambassadors and as proud representatives of the finest aspects of sportsmanship. Particularly noteworthy was the contribution of sprinter Tommie Smith, who in 1968 tore apart the cloak of conformity that had restrained the Olympic world to some extent.
His iconic raised fist on the podium of the 200-meter final emerged from a profound realization: that he could become a symbol for an entire community.
Smith explained during the evening event on July 3, “We didn’t know what we were going to do; we were students known for our speed. We came of age in 1968. We had to make ourselves seen by everyone because we had never been heard when we spoke about racism.“
Smith then turned his attention to the relationship between sports and study, a connection that the Fair Play Menarini Foundation strongly advocates for.
“Our victory speaks volumes; we fought for people’s rights,” emphasized the former U.S. record holder. “You must listen to what your heart tells you, just like those kids in Mexico City did in 1968. Education should be something that guides you to become someone and help others in society.“
Profound concepts echoed by Edwin Moses, a strong advocate in the fight against doping and inequality. As the greatest four-center in history, Moses believes that the combination of diversity, sports and education adds immeasurable value to a champion’s wealth of experience.
“I’ve known Tommie for 46 years – remarked Moses during the talk show – We both came from similar families that valued education and we shared a passion for sports. Being a student and an athlete simultaneously appealed to me because I appreciated the synergy of mind and body. Moreover, I grew up in an academic family that emphasized the importance of education. I’ve had numerous experiences and traveled extensively across Europe and the world. These principles were instilled in me by my family, and I consider myself fortunate.“
Arrigo Sacchi redirected the conversation towards the qualities necessary to build a cohesive team.
“In this country, even simple things make you a revolutionary – explained Sacchi, reflecting on his time as coach of Milan – For me, it was crucial to lead a team in which every player actively participated in both offensive and defensive phases. I always believed that three elements were vital in soccer: motivation, strong team spirit and the way of playing. That’s why I never focused on the players’ technical abilities but rather on their intelligence because I sought dependable individuals.“
Giancarlo Antognoni echoed Sacchi’s sentiments and symbolically embraced the city of Florence, the place where he matured as both a footballer and a person.
“I played for my teammates; personal glory was never my goal. I consider myself a team player because you can’t win games alone. I may have won fewer titles than the other honorees present, but I achieved something they did not: the love and affection of the Florentine people.“
Fair Play Menarini International Award – XXVII Edition
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE, “Sport and Life” category
JAVIER ZANETTI, “Legendary Figure” category
DEBORAH COMPAGNONI, “Career Fair Play” Category
ALESSANDRA CAMPEDELLI, “Social Values of Sport” Category
ANTONIO CABRINI, “A Role Model for Youth” 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” Franco Lauro Special Prize Category
Edwin Moses, Larissa Iapichino, Tommie Smith
Andrea Abodi, Deborah Compagnoni
Antonio Cabrini, Giancarlo Antognoni
Eugenio Giani, Federica Pellegrini, Javier Zanetti, Michele Cagiano
Federica Pellegrini, Giulia Ghiretti, Riccardo Nigi
From the gala dinner to the awards ceremony, sports stars light up the stage
The XXVII edition of the Fair Play Menarini International Award continued its vibrant festivities in Florence, amid the vibrant colors and dazzling lights of the panoramic terrace of Piazzale Michelangelo. The gala dinner took place on Tuesday, July 4, and served as a celebration hosted by the Fair Play Menarini Foundation, setting the stage for the highlight of the 2023 edition: the awards ceremony at the Roman Theater in Fiesole.
The historic venue played host to a magnificent parade of stars, guided by Lorenzo Dallari and Rachele Sangiuliano. Andrea Abodi, the Italian Minister for Sport and Youth, took the stage to express his delight in being part of an event that places emphasis on respect, sports culture, and social responsibility.
The return of the “Divine” Federica Pellegrini, who was awarded in the 2022 edition and served as a special guest for the evening, garnered great admiration from the audience, who holds a deep affection for one of the most influential athletes in history.
One by one, the champions graced the stage, beginning with Javier Zanetti, beloved leader of Inter and vice president of the Nerazzurri club. Joining him was coach Antonio Cabrini, a former stalwart of Juventus, who was presented with the Special Paolo Rossi “Model for Youth” Award, commemorating the glorious World Cup of ’82, which he experienced alongside the legendary “Pablito”.
Athletics was represented by record-breaking long-distance runner Larissa Iapichino, the gold medalist at last June’s Golden Gala, while the world of water sports saw the presence of Massimiliano Rosolino, the eternal pride of Italy, and Paralympic swimmer Giulia Ghiretti.
Among the attendees were also two extraordinary snow queens: skier Deborah Compagnoni and biathlon athlete Lisa Vittozzi. Also present were foil diva Elisa Di Francisca, coach Alessandra Campedelli, the former coach of the Iranian national women’s volleyball team, and basketball ace Luis Alberto Scola Balvoa, bound for the NBA.
Completing the roster of new inductees into their Fair Play Menarini roll of honor were tennis “Lioness” Francesca Schiavone and Jacopo Volpi, the newly appointed director of Rai Sport, who received the prestigious Franco Lauro “Narrating Emotions” Special Award.
The values that make the Fair Play Menarini International Award truly exceptional were also underscored in Fiesole.
Javier Zanetti himself eloquently conveyed the essence of these values, encapsulating the journey of all athletes, characterized by dedication and self-sacrifice.
He remarked, “As a child, I dreamed of becoming a soccer player. After three years, my coach informed me that my physique wasn’t suitable for professional play. I then started working with my father, where I came to understand all the sacrifices made by my family. I grew up with the values of commitment and sacrifice. This award represents my journey, not only as a soccer player but also as a human being. I have won many trophies, but this is the most beautiful one in my career. I must express my gratitude to Italy, as it opened doors for me when I was young. After 28 years, I feel Italian and have found my home here.“
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Here are the award winners and categories of the XXVII Fair Play Menarini International Award:
- FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE, “Sport and Life” category
- JAVIER ZANETTI, “Legendary Figure” category
- DEBORAH COMPAGNONI, “Career Fair Play” category
- ALESSANDRA CAMPEDELLI, “Social Values of Sport” category
- ANTONIO CABRINI, “A Role Model for Youth” 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” Franco Lauro Special Prize category
- MARIACLOTILDE ADOSINI, “Young Athletes” category
- EMILIA ROSSATTI, “Young Athletes” category
- GIORGIO PIETRO TORRISI, “Young Athletes” category
- GIANLUCA GENSINI, “Study and Sport” Fiamme Gialle Special Prize category
The following Fair Play Ambassadors also attended: