Sat, 21 May 2022

ROME, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Italy is poised to build on a record-setting success at last Summer Olympics, said Giovanni Malago, president of the Italian National Olympic Committee.

The Italian team, announced earlier this week, will include 118 athletes, two fewer than that of the 2018 PyeongChang, and Malago expected this year's team will do better than its counterparts from four years ago.

The 2018 Games still showed a strong performance by Italian athletes as they won a total of 10 medals, including three gold medals in women's short-track speed skating, women's snowboarding, and Alpine skiing.

"In Beijing we can and must do better than in 2018," Malago told Italian journalists. "I am an incurable optimist and we have worked hard."

Italy will have experienced hands to push for that goal as all the three gold medallists - women's 500m short-track speed skating champion Arianna Fontana, women's snowboard cross winner Michela Moioli and Alpine skiing women's downhill title holder Sofia Goggia will go to Beijing.

Goggia, who had originally been selected to carry the Italian flag at the opening ceremony in Beijing, suffered a knee injury on Sunday in an Olympic test event at the Italian ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Moioli will replace Goggia as Italy's flag bearer, but Goggia remains in the team and hopes to recover in time to defend her title in the Olympic downhill race in February in China.

Top Italian team members also include world champion standouts Federica Brignone, Marta Bassino, Dominik Paris, and Federico Pellegrino.

Cortina d'Ampezzo will co-host with the Italian city of Milan at the 2026 Olympic Winter Games. That will be the third time Italy hosts the Winter Olympics, following Turin in 2006 and Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956.

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