This Mother’s Day, we would like to celebrate a woman, a mother, and an athlete. Every day she shows how passion and commitment can assuage even the toughest roles.
We are celebrating Daniela Ceccarelli, who in 2002, excited the Italian ski community winning the gold medal in Super G at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. As if that major conquest was not enough, Daniela gave birth to Lara the same year, landing her the nickname of the “flying mother.” She faced more challenges besides being a new mother as she continued to race at the Olympic level. Daniela was also competing with prejudice, discrimination and criticism against being an athlete mother. Today Daniela is a successful ski coach, and she says motherhood has helped her teach and grow future champions.
“I live my life fully and my days are always busy,” she says. “At 15 years old I decided to dedicate my life to skiing. Every day goes by staying true to this commitment. In order to not sacrifice family time, I have made a point to involve everyone in this activity. My brother Davide, my husband Alessandro, and cousin Valentina, all former athletes as well, have created the Golden Team Ceccarelli with me. The Golden Team Ceccarelli is a young dedicated ski center aimed to focus on each participant’s specific characteristics and prepare at 360 degrees for a racing career. My kids, Lara (12) and Yuri (6), are members of the team and give me the chance to look closely at my methods and their results. Learning from what works and what doesn’t, allows me to modify my methods promptly. Being a parent on top of being a former athlete has helped me develop a particular sensibility when it comes to coaching.”
“This is why one of the Ceccarelli Team pillars is to let kids have resources, time and trust. This pillar allows athlete the ability to measure their own skills by themselves and conquer their goals without feeling the obligation of winning. Results show we are doing it right — this winter we won six Italian national titles in different categories.”
“My parents are also involved in my life project,” Ceccarelli continues. “Without my dad’s passion, I would have most likely not have been a skier and without my mother’s help, I would not be able to follow each step with the same commitment. She is key in helping me out with Lara and Yuri who nourish other interests besides skiing.
Lara loves ice skating and she practices it with the same passion and rhythm — this year she won two Italian titles and finished 15th overall in the French Championship. She skates in France because in Italy, not only it is very hard to be a student-athlete at high levels, but also practicing two different sports at high levels is not well accepted. In the past, I fought for the athlete-mothers causes, now I fight for these issues too.”
“Having such a strong organization supporting me, I am still able to follow some passions of my own, such as working for Italian television called the RAI Sports Channel. I do reporting at World Cup Races. I embrace the role of reporting with a lot of enthusiasm and the days on the slopes I have raced on still provide strong emotions for me. This ‘insider’ role also gives me great experience to improve my coaching methods for young talents.”
“Finally, I am glad to be involved in the Women to Women Tecnica-Blizzard project because I can see the spirit and values within it that guide me day by day, too. I am grateful to be able to share my experiences in order to contribute to the further development of innovative and women specific products.”