Swimmer Federico Morlacchi won Italy’s first gold medal of the Rio Paralympics on Sunday, September 11, when he triumphed in the 200m medley in the S9 category, clinching the Azzurri‘s 500th Paralympic medal of all time. Morlacchi later won a silver medal in the 400m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
Swimmer Francesco Bettella was the first to win a medal in the 2016 Paralympics placing second in the 100m backstroke.
Italians athletes have won 31 medals so far (8 gold, 13 silver, 10 bronze), placing tenth overall (China is leading).
Among the most emotional victories is Alex Zanardi’s gold win on the eve of the 15-year anniversary since he lost his legs in a motorsport crash. The 49-year-old hand-cyclist was a Formula 1 driver and had both legs amputated after the accident. This is his third Paralympic gold medal.