Beatrice Vio

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Beatrice Vio
Beatrice Vio 2018 (cropped).jpg
Bebe Vio in 2018
Personal information
Born (1997-03-04) 4 March 1997 (age 26)
Venice, Italy
National coachSimone Vanni
ClubScherma Mogliano
Head coachFederica Berton, Alice Esposito
Medal record
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Paralympic Games 2 1 1
World Championships 3 0 0
European Championships 4 1 0
Total 9 2 1
Summer Paralympics
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo Foil B
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Foil B
Bronze medal – third place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Team foil
Silver medal – second place 2020 Tokyo Team foil

Beatrice Maria Adelaide Marzia Vio (born 4 March 1997), better known as Bebe Vio, is an Italian wheelchair fencer, the 2014 and 2016 European champion, 2015 and 2017 World champion, and 2016 and 2020 Paralympic champion in the foil B category.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bebe Vio was born in Venice on 4 March 1997 as the second of three siblings and raised in Mogliano Veneto.[2][3]

In late 2008, when she was 11 years old, she contracted meningitis. In order to save her life, doctors had to amputate both her legs at the knee, and both her forearms.[4] After more than three months of intensive rehabilitation she was able to return to fencing.[5]

In her childhood she pursued three passions, which she dubs "the three S's": school (scuola in Italian), fencing (scherma), which she took up when she was five,[6] and scouting (scoutismo).[2]


Vio is a champion wheelchair fencer. She uses a special prosthetics to hold her foil, fencing from the shoulder.[7] Under the coaching of Federica Berton and Alice Esposito she took part in her first wheelchair fencing competition in 2010.[8] Her experience inspired her parents to found the non-profit organization Art4sport Onlus, which promotes sport for amputee young people.

The 2012 Summer Paralympics were too early in her career for her to take part, but she was chosen as a torchbearer for the opening ceremony after an online campaign where more than 1,000 people emailed the International Paralympic Committee to support her candidacy.[9]

In 2013, she won her first World Cup in Montreal after she defeated Olympic silver medallist Gyöngyi Dani. For this performance she was named paralympic athlete of the month by the International Paralympic Committee.[10]

Vio at the State of the European Union with Ursula von der Leyen in September 2021

In the early 2013–14 season, she paused to focus on her studies, but she returned in June and won both the individual and team competition at the European Championships.[11] At the end of the year, the Italian Paralympics Committee awarded her the distinction of “Italian Paralympic Athlete of the Year“, a title shared with Oxana Corso.[12] In 2015, she became world champion after she defeated Dani 15–4 in the final.[13] She was named an ambassador for the Milan Expo 2015[14] and she published her autobiography, Mi hanno regalato un sogno.[15]

In the 2015–16 season, she received the Mangiarotti Award from the Italian Olympic Committee.[16] She won her second European title in Casale Monferrato, prevailing over Russian Irina Mishurova.[17] In July she lost in the final of the Warsaw World Cup to Russian Viktoria Boykova, which ended her streak of 11 consecutive victories in World Cup events.[18] She however qualified to the 2016 Summer Paralympics as the top-ranked fencer in her category.[19] In Rio she came out of the pool stage undefeated, winning her five pool bouts on 5–0. In the quarterfinals, she defeated Poland's Marta Makowska on 15–6, then overcame defending Paralympic champion, China's Fang Yao, on 15–1. In the final she met China's Jingjing Zhou. After she took an early lead, the bout was interrupted when the tip of her opponent's foil went accidentally into her mask. After ice was applied, she went on to win 15–7, earning Paralympic gold.[20][6]

She received the America Award of the Italy-USA Foundation in 2018.

On 19 September 2018, after beating Russian opponent Irina Misurova, Beatrice Vio was crowned European champion for the third time.


As a result of her illness and her recovery, Vio has become "a fierce campaigner for early vaccination."[6]


  1. ^ Pavitt, Michael (28 August 2021). "Vio victorious at Tokyo 2020 as Italian retains wheelchair fencing foil title". Retrieved 28 August 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Costa, Diego (12 June 2014). "Bebe Vio, che ha battuto la Vezzali cambiando la sopravvivenza in vita". La Repubblica (in Italian).
  3. ^ "Wheelchair Fencing - VIO Beatrice Maria - Tokyo 2020 Paralympics". Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  4. ^ "One year on: Wheelchair fencing star Bebe Vio". 31 August 2013.
  5. ^ Pisapia, Luca (11 June 2012). "Tirare di scherma con quattro protesi, è Beatrice Vio tedofora alle Paralimpadi". Il Fatto quotidiano (in Italian).
  6. ^ a b c Gorney, Cynthia (November 2017). "Why Vaccines Matter". National Geographic. p. 134.
  7. ^ The story of Beatrice Vio: the teenage fencing sensation at the Paralympics. The Olympic Channel. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Beatrice Vio". 31 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Paralimpiadi. Bebe Vio, a Londra a furor di popolo. Niente gare, ma il futuro è suo" (in Italian). Redattore Sociale. 3 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Beatrice Vio - Athlete of the Month May 2013". May 2013.
  11. ^ "Scherma, agli Europei l'Italia ha il sorriso di Beatrice Vio" (in Italian). Rai News. 10 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Beatrice Vio premiata con l'Italian Paralympic Award 2014" (in Italian). Italian Fencing Federation. 9 October 2014.
  13. ^ Carlino, Maddalena (22 September 2015). "Niente è impossibile. Bebe Vio, l'oro paralimpico del fioretto ci racconta "come fare la differenza"" (in Italian). L'Unità TV.
  14. ^ Sogliani, Marina (9 April 2015). "La campionessa di scherma Beatrice Vio sarà Ambassador di Expo Milano 2015". Il Corriere della sera (in Italian).
  15. ^ "Beatrice "Bebe" Vio: "Mi hanno regalato un sogno"". Il Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 14 December 2015.
  16. ^ Silvia Galimberti (25 February 2016). "Il premio "Mangiarotti" assegnato all'imbattibile Vio". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian).
  17. ^ Claudio Arrigoni (18 May 2016). "Non si ferma mai. Oro europeo 2016 per Bebe Vio". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian).
  18. ^ Gennari, Alessandro (11 July 2016). "Varsavia: argento per Bebe, si interrompe la striscia vicente". Pianeta Scherma (in Italian).
  19. ^ "Federscherma - Giochi Paralimpici Rio2016 - Ecco la delegazione azzurra: sette Italiani in pedana dal 12 al 16 settembre" (in Italian). Italian Fencing Federation. 18 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Victory for Vio in wheelchair fencing foil event". International Paralympic Committee. 14 September 2016.

External links[edit]