Paralympics in Rio, ready for the semifinals of the 200 meters with Reggian, Giusy Versace

yescalabria_giusy-versace-02Grit, tenacity and a smile that lights up her face. With these three ingredients Giusy Versace, 39, of Reggio Calabria, faced her first race at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. A good start, that ended with a fifth place finish and a disqualification. The Paralympic sprinter, after a small distraction caused her to step on the white lane divider, received a disqualification for invasion.

Earning places on the podium in the 400 meters were the French, Marie-Amelie Le Fur (first with a new world record of 59:27), followed by the German, Irmgard Bensusan (59:62), and by the American, Grace Norman (1:01:83).  Italian, Federica Maspero (1:03:83) earned fourth place.

Reaching the microphones of the Paralympic Committee, Giusy Versace expressed regret for the defeat: “I managed the tension very well, I did a good warm up, I felt charged. Unfortunately, in the second corner, I had a moment of distraction and I stepped on the white line and I was disqualified for that. I’m sorry. I have a bit of bitterness about it because it’s a mistake that a professional should not make, but I must turn the page because my Olympic experience will not end here,” concluded the young and spirited Calabrian. The next event is in fact on September 14th at 7:30 pm (00:38 Italian time), with the semi-final of the 200 meters.  The Italian athlete is ready to stand up and face this new challenge with the stubbornness that has characterized her all these years.

This is a story of rebirth for Giusy, when her new life began 11 years ago after a terrible car accident she lost her lower limbs.  An event that has put everything at stake and for a determined character like hers, has never represented surrender, she writes in her biography.  After more than a year of training,in fact, just to walk again. She was drawn to sports and running in particular. A choice that led in 2010 to begin running with two carbon fiber prosthetic legs, becoming the first woman to run with the double amputation.

Years of hard work for Giusy, but also bringing much satisfaction, not just in sports, but with her participation in the television program Dancing with the Stars, which ended with a victory, paired with Raymond Todaro; the TV program, “Domenica Sportiva” on Rai 2 with journalist Alessandro Antinelli and the publication of her first autobiography “Con la testa e con il cuore si va ovunque.” (with your head and your heart you can achieve what you want).

We at Yes Calabria continue to cheer for this wonderful woman who has much to teach all of us, and we really hope that with her head and her heart she continues to climb higher and higher. Good luck!