Italy hasn't been known for producing elite CrossFit athletes -- until now.
CrossFit is just in its beginnings in Italy. Despite its world-renowned reputation for soccer, Italy hasn't been known for producing elite CrossFit athletes – until now.
Italy now has two strong athletes who have stormed their way through the Open.
Stefano Migliorini and Martina Barbaro are members of CrossFit Forgeria in Milan, Italy. They finished the Open in 1st and 6th place, respectively and earned a spot at the Europe Regional.
Migliorini is in his first year of CrossFit. He put in solid performances for all five workouts, staying within the top 25. He saved the best for last, storming through Workout 12.5 and finishing 2nd in the region with 147 reps – besting the likes of Chris Spealler, Pat Barber and Austin Malleolo.
The Open wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 23-year-old novice, who scored only 79 points in Workout 12.2, his worst performance. He found himself down in 695th place in the world and 23rd in Europe. His coach, Ernest Briganti, admits this is an area of weakness for Migliorini. One they will work on before Regionals.
“Olympic lifting technique is definitely something that Stefano has to work hard on,” Briganti says. “As a powerful athlete, he has had to rely on his strength up until now. As the stakes get higher, he will have to be more skillful to be competitive, and this is a very big area of focus for us.”
Barbaro, 26, has a strong athletic background in gymnastics, track and field and skiing. Never dropping below a top 20 performance, her strongest performances were in Workouts 12.3 and 12.5, finishing 3rd in both for the region.
Barbaro qualified for Regionals last year, finishing in 10th place. Coming away from the Regional, she says she learned much that helped her prepare for 2012.
“Today, Martina is stronger than last year, both mentally and physically,” Briganti says. “Last year’s Regionals gave her a lot of hints [on what] to work on. She has improved her overall preparation from heavy stuff to gymnastics. During the 2011 Regionals, her weakness with muscle-ups and HSPU’s cut her off from the top of the competition, but now she has really improved these skills.”
Barbaro is hoping for another running workout at Regionals, claiming high intensity endurance is the ace in her hole. She says she’s looking forward to a challenge competing against the strong Icelandic women.
Briganti says Barbaro and Migliorini will have no issue with unknown workouts. “Martina and Stefano are relishing the excitement of the unknown,” he says. “They really loved the inclusion of the handstand walks at the CrossFit Games last year, and look forward to the opportunity of trying brand new challenges because, as Coach Glassman said, ‘The magic is in the movement.’”
Under the watchful eye of Briganti, Barbaro and Migliorini have tough training schedules. Barbaro coaches at CrossFit Forgeria and planning her wedding – she’s engaged to Briganti. She trains two to three times a day, five to six days a week.
Migliorini works full time at his family electrical firm, but is able to train about nine times a week, splitting time at the track in the mornings and doing strength and conditioning work later in the day.