The story of a girl who doesn’t give up

Veronika Yoko Plebani is not only rewriting the history of Paralympic sport, but also becoming a worldwide reference point in fighting against stereotypes and accepting one’s body. Here’s because.

The story of Veronika Yoko Plebani

Veronica Yoko Plebani was born on March 1, 1996 in the Brescia region. Twenty-eight years ago, her mother decided to name her Yoko. Name given to girls in Japan when they are born in the early months of spring. And if life so far has definitely not been all roses and flowers, it must be said that Veronica Yoko is trying to create a lot of laurels and sweetness, despite circumstances that certainly do not make her path easier.

One of the most successful Italian athletes ever. won more than thirty-five medals She competes in Paralympic snowboarding, skiing and triathlon events and also won a bronze medal in this discipline at Tokyo 2020. Paralympics, yes, because when Veronica was 15, she contracted a very deep case of acute bacterial meningitis. There were scars all over his body, especially his arms and legs, forever damaged and severely injured.

Snowboard and Italian flag

Veronika Plebani’s story between snow and paralympic sports

Veronica’s life from then on first became a challenge to himself, then a successful attempt to show how his new reality can be considered an essential part of our normality in every respect. There is one passage that, more than anything else, describes the determination of this extraordinary girl.

To photograph it, you need to go back to November 6, 2011 and fly to New York. In fact, that day, a few months after I was discharged from the hospital, Veronica participates in a five kilometer race with her father It was organized as part of the side events of the New York Marathon.

His father pushes him into the wheelchair, but a few meters from the finish line, Veronica stands up and takes the final steps to the finish line. These steps will be Yoko’s first after endless weeks of illness, and they will be steps of extraordinary importance because they will help her understand how movement, sport, can be decisive for the restart.

In many interviews, Veronica talked about herself. first difficulty accepting your new bodyHe thought the pain would never go away. But then he realized that he could take back a piece of the world through sports activities, and that’s how he approached his city’s canoe group, the Palazzolo Kayak Canoe Club in Palazzolo sull’Oglio.

The results came almost immediately, both in Italy and internationally. At the age of sixteen he became the junior champion in the K1 TA 2000 meter classic river downhill competition. Between 2013 and 2016, he won the championship in the K1 TA 3000 meters, K1 TA marathon, K1 TA 200 meters, K1 TA 500 meters and 1000 meters disciplines. Paracanoe World Cup He came first in the K1 200 meters at the European Paracanoe Championship held in Germany.

His is a long string of victories that will take him to a bronze medal four years ago at the Tokyo Olympics in the triathlon discipline he started practicing in 2017. without forgetting this Snowboarding is a great passion this also saw him included in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Represent the disabled world by avoiding stereotypes

But perhaps Veronica’s most important achievement is not her sporting success, but is partly linked to the change she has managed to create. convey through the image. The girl from Brescia has repeatedly emphasized how important it is to give representation to all people. People living with disabilities all over the worldnormalizes its existence.

According to Veronica, physical problems are actually desensitized through representation and are something that needs to be reported more forcefully and more consistently within the collective social discourse, especially 15% of the world’s population having to deal with a disability.

Veronica Yoko Plebani goes far beyond sports with the very idea of ​​creating representation. For example, scars are already on display, on the cover of Vogue, because the girl often works as a model. Additionally, Yoko is studying Political Science at the University of Bologna (her thesis will focus on the rights of female athletes) and constantly keeps her Instagram profile active, with over eighty thousand followers. She also wrote a novel, Flowers Hungry for Life, published by Mondadori in 2020.

We must respect and understand the fact that not everyone can show themselves despite their disability. Even Veronica wasn’t initially convinced to be seen in public with her new body condition. But over time, she realized that her commitment could be important as she tried to stop prejudice. Creating so-called “body positivity”.

Her first swimsuit photos still continue to inspire thousands of people today. Another example of courage and dedication Veronica Yoko Plebani, an athlete, a wonderful person.

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