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The gold medal with the 5 Ribbons in Rhythmic Group competition in Stuttgart was such an outstanding inspiration for the Italian team. It seemed as if they caught the second wind. Now the Italian team is looking forward to performing in Rio de Janeiro.
"We will start to work immediately for the Olympic Games," said Italian team captain Marta Pagnini after the competition. "We'll have a rest of course, and then we'll come back to grow as a team, because we are a very young team. Some girls are really new, so it's important and necessary to grow together."
In recent years Italy was performing perfectly. The team won the Group All-around titles at the World Championships. It happened from 2009 till 2011. Sometimes the Italian gymnasts finished second (in 2013 and in 2014).
In Stuttgart the Italians made some mistakes that’s why they couldn’t reach the podium in the All-around competition, but it did not decrease the team's focus heading into event finals. With the 5 Ribbons, the Italians (Marta Pagnini, Martina Centofanti, Sofia Lodi, Alessia Maurelli, Camilla Patriarca and Andreea Stefanescu) took advantage of performing last to deliver an dramatic exercise that earned them the highest score with the event (17.900 points).
"We knew that we deserved a medal," Pagnini said. "We worked a lot, and everyone said we had very good compositions. We expected a medal from this World Championships, and we are glad that we could do it."
The Italian team was excited with the victory. After that, the Italians managed to perform perfectly with their second routine with the Hoops and Clubs, where they scored 18.100, finishing losing a second gold to Russia by a mere 0.025.
The team is not sure whether they will keep their programmes for the Olympics or create new routines. "With the medals, maybe we will keep the same routines," Pagnini said. "It depends on our coach, of course."
More important, said Pagnini, who along with Stefanescu are the only holdouts from the 2012 Olympic team that took bronze in London, is gelling as a Group. "In Izmir (at the 2014 Worlds), we were a really, really new team," she said. "Some of the girls were really young, and we have a big gap in years between each other. It's not always easy to find the right feeling, but we're working on that."
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