Martina, from the Paganella to the Snowboard Deaflympics

Martina, from the Paganella to the Snowboard Deaflympics
Tuesday 9 February 2021

Martina Osti, 22 years old from Andalo, like almost all the children who live in Dolomiti Paganella learned to ski when she was 5 years old. During her first ski lessons she was fascinated to see a girl skiing down the Paganella slopes on a snowboard, doing jumps and acrobatics. “After about a year I plucked up the courage to ask that girl to teach me how to ski on a board. It was real love at first sight and I soon abandoned skis and dedicated myself exclusively to snowboarding.”

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Martina refined her technique over time and developed enough confidence to ski the slopes on her own. Her winters became an alternation of outings on the ski runs with friends, and days inside her family's hotel where she works with great commitment with her parents. Then there was a telephone call that changed everything.

“At the beginning of 2019 my parents received a call from the FSSI (Italian Federation of Sports for the Deaf) to tell them that I had been selected for the National Snowboard Team. They had seen me skiing on the Paganella slopes and were impressed with my technique. When I found out I could hardly believe it, I had never been in a competition in my life and I only went snowboarding for fun as a hobby. Now I suddenly found myself on the national team!”

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“I did my first training camp at Passo dello Stelvio in June 2019. It still seemed incredible that I was training with the national team, wearing the Italian team colours! When I returned home I recounted every single detail to my parents, family, and in particular to Silvia Bresciani, the girl who fifteen years earlier had helped me get started on a snowboard and who to this day is effectively my coach. I asked her to accompany me to Stelvio twice a week from June to October because I was determined to arrive at the championships in the best possible form.”

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In December Martina went to Santa Caterina Valfurva together with her teammates. Valtellina and Valchiavenna were hosting the nineteenth edition of the Winter Deaflympics, the silent Olympic Games for the deaf. The competitions were held from 12 to 19 December with the participation of 34 nations. “I was very emotional during the opening ceremony, I had never taken part in an event like that, with so many people from all over the world.”

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Martina participated in two races, the giant slalom, and the parallel. “These were effectively my first ever competitions, I experienced days on end in a state of constant euphoria and excitement. I had trained a lot and we also had a lot of preparatory meetings. In the end I finished ninth, a result that was something of a victory, considering that I was afraid of finishing last!”

Martina came home satisfied, more aware of her abilities, and with a great desire to improve. “Unfortunately this pandemic is preventing me from practising as I would like,” she says, “but I keep training at home, until I can get back on my snowboard. Also because I am looking forward to the Deaflympics of 2023, which seems will be held in Canada!”

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