Without question, female athletes are strong. Women have proved time and again that they’re capable of achieving seemingly impossible physical feats. However, female athletes are not only strong, they’re powerful. They smash barriers and have transcended sports to become cultural game-changers. The following Italian women are fierce female trailblazers who are paving the way for athletes and women everywhere.
Hope Amelia Solo
Hope Amelia Solo is known for being the goalie for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team. She led her team to earn 2 Olympic gold medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, along with other World Cup medals. In 2009, Solo won the award for the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, the first goaltender to be awarded the prestigious title.
Elena Delle Donne
You’ll find Elena Delle Donne on the court as the forward and shooting guard for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. Following her collegiate career, she was drafted by the Chicago Sky in 2013, leading the team to its first-ever playoff qualification and earned the top seed in the Eastern Division. While playing for the Chicago Sky, she averaged roughly 21.5 points per game. In 2017, she was traded to the Washington Mystics and became the fastest WNBA player to score 3,000 points. In 2021, she was named one of the top 25 WNBA players of the league's first 25 years.
Catherine "Cammi" Granato
Former ice hockey wing-center, Catherine Granato is one of the first women to ever be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame and International Hockey Hall of Fame. Granato has played in every world championship for the United States since its inaugural season in 1990 through 2005. In 1998, as captain of Team USA, she led the team to win a gold medal, scoring the first-ever goal for the U.S. women's hockey team. Over the course of the 205 games she played for the national team, she had an outstanding record of 186 goals, 157 assists, and 343 points becoming the national team’s all-time leading scorer.
A sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, Italian biathlete Dorothea Wierer is a true champion. She won her first-ever biathlon championship in 2011 and placed third in the Women’s Relay in 2013. Over the course of her World Championship career, Wierer has a total of 12 medals including four gold, five silver, and three bronze medals. She also took part in the 2014, 2018, and 2022 Olympics and won a bronze medal for the mixed relays and sprint.
The 22-year-old sprinter hailing from Cagliari, Sardinia has made a name for herself in the sports world. Since a young age, Kaddari has been setting records for Italy in the 200-meter sprint. By age 17, she won the silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, setting a national best under-18 record of 23.45 seconds. Kaddari has also set the indoor under-20 record at 23.85 seconds. Although still a junior, she won the gold medal at the Italian Championships, breaking a personal record of 23.20 seconds.
The retired swimmer currently holds the 200-meter freestyle world record. She is also the only swimmer, male or female, who has won eight medals at the World Championships. Pellegrini is also the first Italian and only Italian swimmer to set multiple records for swimming. She had her first podium at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, winning a silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle. Over the course of her incredible career, Pellegrini has a total of 129 National Championship wins.
Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner is the most decorated singles skater in the sport’s history. She began skating at four years old and made her senior international debut in 2002. Known for her spins and clockwise jumps, she is the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, the 2012 World champion, a five-time European champion and the 2011 Grand Prix Final champion.
Assistant Editor for America Domani, AJ Forrisi is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer. His work focuses on food, travel, sports, landscapes, and urban scenes. You can find him on Instagram @aj.photo.works.