Michela Moioli

A girl who has many dreams, snow dreams.

The mountains have been with her since she was a little girl. She has always enjoyed gliding on the snow, even if she fell, even when the snow ended up in her mouth and she had to spit it out. When you’re a child, you like it because you still don’t know how many falls you’ll have before becoming an adult – the farther you go, the more they hurt.

 

Michela decided to try her hand at alpine skiing, then she got into snowboarding. She really loved her snowboard. She loved going fast and doing some jumps on her snowboard. But she opted for a discipline where judges and time don’t matter – snowboard cross.

 

Snowboard cross, also known as boardercross, is a pure discipline. There are four to six athletes at the start and the start gate is like the one used in motocross. “Riders Ready…Attention…”, and the gates open. After some jumps, berms and rollers, the competitors cross the finish line.

 

Simple, pure.

As simple and pure as the girl from the province of Bergamo. She’s a fighter, just like her friend from Bergamo, Sofia. Olympic golds and World Cup titles, but how did she win them?

 

Simple and pure, like the love for sport.

This love leads you to make sacrifices, get up very early and feel the icy wind whistling past your neck. It leads you to the team and the falls, but the ones that hurt.

 

Michela qualified for the Olympic final at Sochi.

It was 16th February 2014 and she had won only one World Cup race until then, on that very course the previous year. The young Michela had a good start and was in the fight for the bronze. After the last berm she fell – a bad fall and a cry of pain. She had injured her knee.

 

When you’re a child, falling is fun, but sometimes when you fall you hurt yourself. And when you fall just 300 metres away from an Olympic medal, it hurts even more, because you realise that you have to start all over again, grit your teeth, get angry, cry and try again. Get up.

 

Michela picked up the pieces and started over. She worked hard, silent and with her head down. She had only one goal. She had a score to settle with those Olympic Games, with that medal.

She recovered. No matter how much her knee hurt, she started competing again.

 

In 2015 she won a bronze medal, at last. But it was a World Championship medal, at Kreischberg. In 2016 she won her first World Cup title. In 2017 she won another bronze medal at the World Championships.

 

Michela got back on her feet but didn’t stop there. She still had a score to settle.

It was late 2017, and Michela and Sofia shared the same strength and conditioning coach. They started looking at each other, spending time together. They are birds of a feather; it was obvious they would become friends.

 

The season went by, and after the podiums and the wins, it was time for the Olympics.

 

Michela was the favourite to win at Pyeongchang. To some athletes, being the favourite means feeling under pressure, carrying a burden. To her, it meant carrying out a mission.

Heat after heat, the race went on. Her rivals fell or vanished. She advanced to the final.

Six girls. Six girls and just three medals up for grabs.

 

At the start gate, those four years flashed in front of her eyes, from the start of that horrible final through her pain, her strength, her determination, her grit, until this final.

When you’re a child, you fall. When you’re an adult, you get back on your feet. That’s the difference.

 

Nana Korobi Ya Oki is not only a sentence, it’s a philosophy. It comes from Asia, where the 2018 Winter Olympics took place. Simple, clear words – fall down seven times, get up eight.

 

It was an endless run, with the shouts of supporters in the background, from Korea to Italy, to her Alzano. In the lead, she was in the lead, still in the lead. She vanished before the last jump, she flew, she got down. She let out a cry, this time not of pain. A four-year long cry. Olympic gold medal.

Because in Alzano you learn not to give up.

 

Zoran Filicic

 

P.S.

Michela Moioli didn’t stop there. After getting back to Europe, she won her second SBX World Cup title, and then her third one in 2020. And it’s not over yet…