Rita Cuccuru, class of ’77, is a concentration of energy and vitality.
A woman to draw inspiration from, a Paralympic triathlon athlete who will be competing in the Paralympics in Tokyo 2021.
Rita perfectly embodies the Sardinian soul with Emilian passion, just like us at Ceramica Mediterranea.
She was born in Germany of Sardinian parents and lives in Maranello.
A great promise of Italian women’s soccer, she lost the use of her legs at the age of 17 due to an accident, but did not lose her enthusiasm for life.
We had the honor of meeting her and accompanying her, supporting her as a sponsor, in this wonderful journey to Japan, certain that her determination and grit will take her far.
Rita came to visit us in our showroom in Sassuolo and, with her contagious smile, answered a few of our questions. Let’s get to know her together.
Rita Cuccuru and Claudia Virvescu Mazohl – Ceramica Mediterranea
Sardinia, Emilia Romagna and Germany, how do these different realities coexist in your life?
“Sardinia identifies me, I feel Sardinian even though I was born in Germany and have lived in Maranello for 23 years. The fact that I am Sardinian is reflected in my surname CUCCURU, where there are all the U!
There is a sardinian way of life that we find hard to tell and explain, but that is inside us. I am proud to be part of the most beautiful island in the world: the island of the Nuraghi. There where my dearest affections and the sea are. Having these strong roots has always helped me. When I go away for a race I always have the flag of the four Moors with me as a good luck charm.”
From Sardinia to the World Championships in Tokyo. How long and challenging has the road been?
“In this walk, which has lasted 6 years, I have met many people and visited many countries and continents. Triathlon for me has been a challenge, a challenge against myself. I fell in love with this discipline and, training after training, I have faced negative days, disappointments and fatigue, but also enormous satisfaction as the bronze medal at the World Championships in Canada and the gold medal at the European Championships in Geneva.
The road is long and demanding, but at my side I have people who believe in me and this gives me the strength to face every training, that even if the muscles hurt, you have to suffer to get to the top.
It is necessary to never give up, whatever happens, you keep going.”
Rita Cuccuru who is she really, a determined woman, a dreamer girl, or both?
“I am a courageous woman. In the world there is a need for courage and even a little bit of madness in facing difficult challenges.
Since I was a little girl, I understood that courage would be fundamental, a strength that everyone has within themselves. I have always had a dream: to go to the Paralympics, and now that they are so close, I will need all the determination I have and not to be afraid of failure. I will still be serene with myself, aware that I have given everything, I will have no regrets.”
A virtue and a defect of yours, as a woman and as a sportswoman.
“My biggest flaw is being too emotional, I get emotional very easily. I’ve had to work hard to improve this aspect, especially in dealing with the pre-race, a very important moment that, if experienced in the wrong way, can undo all the work done in the previous months.
During those hours of waiting our body is subjected to incredible stress, but I’ve also learned to enjoy these hours, because after a while it will all be over.
My virtue? I am a consistent person. I was able to complete crazy races, I never gave up. I overcame little moments of discouragement during the race, like a swimming fraction gone wrong, but you have to be lucid and never give up no matter what happens. You have to honor the race and the jersey you have on.”
How did you approach the Triathlon in your swimming, hand bike, and wheelchair specialities?
“As I said before for me it was a challenge with myself, and it was an uphill start, a steep climb. Swimming was and is even now my weak point. Being Sardinian and determined, helped me to always believe in what I do. The mind is like a muscle the more you train it, the stronger it gets.”
What message do you want to give to those who want to take up the sport at a competitive level?
“Have the courage to dream, to dream high, giving your all and never sparing yourself!
Be true to yourself, know how to learn from defeats and pursue your dream. Work hard and be curious, develop your skills, question yourself, consider new solutions and different points of view. It will not be easy, but what matters is the will to succeed. The greatest test of courage is to endure defeat without losing heart.”