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Paralympic wheelchair fencing gold medalist

Bebe Vio

I’ve dreamed of this gold for a long time. Now I got it. Now it’s other people's turn. Go out and pick some sports, no matter if you are [impaired] or able-bodied. It's very important.

Bebe Vio

A fighter from the beginning.

Bebe Vio is like a little ball of positive energy. Passionate and inspiring. Her motto is “Life is too good.” And every time she wins a match and lets out that celebratory scream, we all become believers..

At five years old, Bebe already showed a raw talent for fencing. A natural with the foil—agile on her feet with lightning-fast reflexes. But at age 11, she faced the ultimate battle when she was diagnosed with meningitis. The disease led to the amputation of her arms and legs, but she refused to let it take her dreams of becoming a champion. And with her unrelenting work ethic, it wouldn’t be long before she would take home the gold while inspiring the world

Mar. 4, 1997

Born

Venice, Italy

Hometown

Wheelchair Fencing

Sport

2

Gold Medal Count

First steps of a long journey.

The road to recovery wouldn’t be easy, but Bebe took on rehab like any other challenge she faced: with ferocious positivity. And after three months of intense physical therapy, she took her first steps on prosthetic legs. It was at that moment Bebe set her sights on winning the Paralympic fencing gold. Some had their doubts, and with good reason:

There had never been a Paralympic fencer without arms or legs. But Bebe refused to listen, saying "Let me try." She worked with her father to create a custom foil, and just three years later, she’d earn a spot on the Italian national team.

"I promise, all you
have is everything
you need."

Don’t tell a girl with a sword what’s impossible.

Coached by gold medalist Simone Vanni, Bebe took the fencing world by storm, claiming her first World Cup victory in Montreal in 2013 and then her first European Championships in 2014. With each match, Bebe sharpened her skills, readying herself for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In Rio, all of her hard work and dedication paid off. She cut through the first round of competition without a point scored against her; then in a staggering 15-to-7 victory against the defending champion, Bebe won the gold.