Italy's Fasana Faces Olympic Challenge With Confidence
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After helping Italy win the bronze medal at last month's European championships in Brussels, Erika Fasana told IG that she and her teammates are working with confidence and harmony towards this summer's Olympic Games in London.

Erika Fasana (Italy)

"Italy didn't reach any team podium in Euros since 2006, in Volos," said Fasana, who hails from Como in northern Italy. "This year there were lots of expectations on us, and also, my teammates and I wanted to get a good result in the Olympic year."

Fasana said the Italian team that competed in Brussels benefited from a long-term, close relationship. Other members of the team were 2006 world all-around champion Vanessa Ferrari, Francesca Deagostini, Giorgia Campana and Carlotta Ferlito.

"We are used to training in our gyms, so as usual we trained together only the last few days before arriving in Brussels," said Fasana, who trains under coaches Laura Rizzoli (her coach since age 5) and Enrico Casello at Brixia Gymnastics near Milan. "However, we have known each other since we were 10, more or less, so being together and creating a real team in few days was not as difficult as it could seem."

Fasana said unity was the main factor for success in the team final in Brussels, where Italy finished third behind gold medalist Romania and silver medalist Russia.

"The main reason for our medal was the team, first of all," said Fasana, who turned 16 on Feb. 17. "We support each other and were determined to do our best. We were sure that, even if we have to do our routine alone, we always have strong support from all the team, juniors, seniors and all the coaches."

Focus was the second factor that contributed to Italy's solid performance in Brussels, Fasana said.

"We knew that the only way to get a medal was not to make any big mistakes, and we did so," she said. "The senior team did 24 routines without any fall. This was very important, and this is the secret of the success: do your best, keep concentration and don't be scared about the event."

The third contributing factor, Fasana said, was the importance that she and Deagostini placed on the competition, which was their first European senior championship. Fasana praised the unique composition of the 2012 Italian team, which includes gymnasts whose personal strengths and styles complement one another.

"This year the Italian team is composed of both powerful and elegant gymnasts," she said. "Vanessa, Carlotta and I are very powerful, while Elisabetta (Preziosa), Francesca and Giorgia are more elegant. We have beam specialists like Carlotta, Francesca and Elisabetta, bars specialists like Giorgia and Vanessa, and a floor specialist like Vanessa."

Fasana said the Italian team is now working to boost their scores in London. "We have to work hard, obviously," she said. "We want to increase D (difficulty) scores and increase also E (execution) scores."

Fasana, who placed seventh on vault in Brussels and sixth on vault at the Olympic test event in London is January, said she is pleased to lend her talents to the Italian cause. In the team final in Brussels, she earned the third-highest all-around score of the field, behind Russia's Anastasia Grishina (first) and Romania's Larisa Iordache (second).

"I think that my most important contribution to the team is vault," said Fasana, who also helped Italy place first in team standings at the test event. "At the Euros I was the only gymnast on the team to do the all-around in both qualifications and team final. I was very happy about giving my contribution to the team in every apparatus."

Although Fasana is satisfied with her results thus far in 2012, she wants to better them in London.

"I was very happy to reach the vault final in both the test event and Euros," she told IG. "I have to improve the execution of my double-twisting Yurchenko and the D score of the second vault. For the Olympics I am improving in all apparatuses, in particular beam and bars. I hope to go to the Olympics healthy, and to be in the condition to do my best."

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features:
"Refueling Ferrari" – Ferrari/Casella interview; "Change for the Better" – Brixia Gymnastics feature (January/February 2009)
Ferrari on cover, 2007 European Championships coverage, "10 Questions with Enrico Casella" (June 2007)
2006 World Championships special issue (December 2006)
Ferrari on cover photo collage (November 2006)
Ferrari on cover, 2006 Worlds preview (September 2006)
Italian team on cover, 2006 Europeans coverage (June 2006)
"Driving Force" - Ferrari profile (December 2005)

To order IG back issues, click here.

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