At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Marco Galiazzo - Olympic champion

First to win gold medal for Italy in archery


Marco Galiazzo
Marco Galiazzo
Marco Galiazzo, the first Italian to win an Olympic gold medal in archery, was born on this day in 1983 in Ponte San Nicolò, just outside Padua.

He won the men’s individual competition at the 2004 Games in Athens at the age of 21, defeating Great Britain’s Larry Godfrey 110-108 in the semi-finals before winning the gold medal match 111-109 against 42-year-old Hiroshi Yamamoto, of Japan. Galiazzo was only one when the veteran Yamamoto competed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Galiazzo was one of 10 Italian gold medal winners at the 2004 Olympics, in which Paolo Bettini won the men’s road race in the cycling competition and Stefano Baldini the men’s marathon.

Eight years later, at the London Games of 2012, Galiazzo won his second Olympic gold as part of the Italian team, alongside Michele Frangilli and Mauro Nespoli, which defeated the United States in the final of the team event at Lord’s Cricket Ground, where Frangilli’s 10 with the last arrow of the match clinched the title.

Marco Galiazzo in action
Marco Galiazzo in action
In between, at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, along with Nespoli and Ilario Di Buò, he had won the silver in the team event.

Galiazzo’s total of medals makes him the most successful Italian Olympic archer of all time and the only one to win two gold medals.

Encouraged by his father, Adriano, himself an archer and later Marco’s coach, he took up the sport at the age of 13 and achieved his first competitive success a year later at the Italian Youth Games.

A member of the Compagnia Arcieri Padovani team, he was selected for the Italian national team for the first time as a 16-year-old.

His achievements in his sport also include gold medals at the World archery championships and the World Cup, plus four European titles and two European indoor titles.

Galiazzo (centre) on the podium after winning the team gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics
Galiazzo (centre) on the podium after winning the team
gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics
On the way to winning his World Cup gold in Copenhagen in 2009, Galiazzo and teammates Nespoli and di Buò set an Italian team record at a stage two match in Porec, Yugoslavia.

His gold in the World championships came in Las Vegas in 2012.

Since 2006, Galiazzo, who still lives in Padua, has been a member of the Italian air force sports section – the Centro Sportivo Aeronautica Militare – allowing him to practise full time.

Travel tip:

Ponte San Nicolò, which takes its name from the bridge crossing the Roncajette channel, part of the Bacchiglione river that connects with the Brenta, was formerly a thriving commercial centre, part of an inland port where boats would unload salt, linen and terracotta pottery among other goods. As well as Galiazzo, it is the birthplace, coincidentally, of another Italian Olympic champion, the rower Rossano Galtarossa, who won gold at the Sydney Olympics of 2000.

Prato della Valle is one of Padua's many highlights
Prato della Valle is one of Padua's many highlights
Travel tip:

The city of Padua is especially notable for art treasures, in particular the magnificent frescoes by Giotto that adorn the walls of the Scrovegni Chapel and the frescoes by Titian in the Scuola di Sant’Antonio. A wealth of notable buildings and vibrant squares include the huge Basilica di Sant’Antonio with its seven cupolas, the vast Palazzo della Ragione with its three tiers of arches and the broad elliptical square Prato della Valle.


More reading:


How Luigi Baccali brought home Italy's first Olympic track gold

Gelindo Bordin - Italy's first Olympic marathon champion

Alberto Cova's 10k hat-trick

Also on this day:


1976: The birth of Andrea lo Cicero - rugby star turned TV presenter








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