Vanessa Ferrari at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Vanessa Ferrari is Italy’s most decorated gymnast, with a total of five World medals and seven European medals. She however still misses an Olympic medal, after narrowly finishing fourth on floor exercise both in London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Ferrari had surgery on her long-time aching Achilles tendon after Rio. The operation went well, and the World all around champion is now back training with only one goal in mind: to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and finally bring home an Olympic medal.

In order to healthily make it to Tokyo, however, Ferrari and her coaches have studied a new training plan, which will allow Ferrari’s body to bear the toll of elite gymnastics for other three years, OA Sport reports.

Ferrari, who will be 29 in 2020, will not compete in the all around any longer, and will instead focus on her two best apparatuses, the balance beam and floor exercise.

The 2020 Olympic teams will be formed of four all arounders, but each team will have the right to qualify also two additional specialist gymnasts, who will qualify through World Cup competitions between 2018 and 2020. Ferrari hopes to obtain one of these two latter spots.

She will have to compete at the Apparatus Specialist World Cups, which will take place between November 2018 and March 2020 (four competitions in the 2018–2019 season and four in the 2019–2020 one). The three best results from each competition will be counted and the highest-ranking gymnast on each apparatus will qualify to the Olympics.

If Ferrari qualifies to Tokyo 2020, it will be her fourth consecutive Olympic Games.

By Talitha Ilacqua


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