It seemed natural for me to join this fantastic revolution for women.
This athlete regards egg freezing as “an ideal opportunity for women”
The prize-winning Italian fencer Elisa di Francisca reflects on the challenge of balancing family life with top-level competitive sports. The Olympic fencing champion and brand ambassador for Timefreeze is 30 years old and highlights egg freezing as a great opportunity for those who wish to decide more freely when and how they want to become mothers.
Where does your passion for fencing come from?
I was born in Jesi (Ancona) in the middle of Italy. My city is the birthplace of fencing and many fencing champions have been born there. It felt natural for me to begin a sports career when I was only seven years old, after a brief fling with dancing. Fencing inspired me from the outset and, 23 years later, I have managed to achieve everything I had hoped for. I want to keep moving forward, to do more… And to do it better all the time!
Is there anyone who has particularly influenced you in your personal and professional life?
Undoubtedly, my teacher Triccolli, a fencing teacher who is very well known in my city, who introduced me to the art when I was just a little girl. After only a very short time, Triccolli said something very special to my mother: “Elisa has gold in her hands. All she has to do is notice it, and grab it”.
What are your main personal values?
Honesty, respect and altruism.
And what are the three adjectives that best define you?
I consider myself a generous, instinctive and determined person.
Would you say that you fight for women’s rights?
Yes. I work with Intervita, an NGO that develops humanitarian projects in the poorest parts of the world. I have collaborated with them on projects aimed at helping exploited women. More specifically, I’m referring to the sensitive issue of female genital mutilation.
What is your next professional goal?
After having received two individual gold medals in the European Championships and the Mediterranean Games in Turkey, my next big goal is the World Fencing Championships in Budapest this month, in August.
And your next personal challenge?
I want to go on another new humanitarian mission with Intervita. This time it will be Cambodia, in October, when I don’t have that many tournaments and not so much training.
What do you think about egg freezing?
I think it’s an ideal opportunity for women: to preserve their fertility and to decide to have a child when the time is right.
How come you decided to become brand ambassador for Timefreeze?
Timefreeze is an egg vitrification technique that is used at the Eugin Clinic in Barcelona. Thanks to this technique, any woman can decide to freeze her eggs when she is young. This means that when she decides she wants to become pregnant later on, she can thaw them and have them fertilised. It’s a very innovative technique and I thought it was only a natural thing to do – to join this fantastic revolution for women when it comes to preserving their fertility.
As an elite athlete and woman… is it difficult to balance personal and professional life?
Without a doubt. I am always travelling the world with a suitcase on top of the bed and it would not be easy for a man to stand such constant distance if he was trying to spend time with me. Friends and family on the other hand are always nearby, even if they are far away, and that’s how I’ve been able to nurture and keep a beautiful, sincere relationship with all of them.
Which are the main problems with this kind of life?
As I mentioned before, distance is one of them. I’m also a very obstinate and jealous person, which means I need constant attention and to be treated in a certain way. But I am sure that sooner or later I will manage to find my soul mate!