Di Piero representing U.S. in Italy
Marcella Di Piero, 13, of Norridge, will run at a competition in Italy this summer. | Michael Jarecki~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:10AM
A long jump will take Marcella Di Piero from her home in Norridge to Salerno, Italy.
The soon-to-be eighth-grade student at Leigh School will be participating in the long jump competition at the Coni Giochi della Gioventi Provincia Salerno, sponsored by the Italian Olympic Committee to be held June 7-15,.
Track and field events are not her first sports love.
“I like soccer,” she said, and dance.
Di Piero is one of 20 United States youths participating in the games, making up the Coni USA delegation..
Applicants must be of Italian descent and between the ages of 11-13 to apply, explained her father, Frank. They then must compete against about 300 others from across the country.
Other countries sending representatives include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland and Venezuela.
The June trip will be her third to Italy.
The first two were to visit family, said her mother, Ivana.
The chance to spend time with her contemporaries from different parts of the world is something to which Marcella Di Piero looks forward.
“I’m excited to meet kids from other countries,” she said.
In addition to competing in the games, Marcella Di Piero’s experience in Salerno also will include excursions into the area’s cultural attractions.
“This will be quite an experience,” said Ivana Di Piero, who will be accompanying her daughter on this trip.
Besides hosting sports events, the Italian National Olympic Committee in the United States has as its goal a mission to maintain cultural ties between Italian-Americans and their Italian cousins and to promote active lifestyles.
The committee also seeks to promote social development, inclusion and mutual respect while pushing forth opportunities to learn about proper, healthful diets.
And the time spent there won’t all be fun and games, unless one considers writing to be fun.
One of the requirements for participating in the Italian youth olympics is to keep a journal of daily experiences.
Demands aside, Marcella Di Piero’s eyes sparkled when she spoke of her next adventure.
“There’ll be an opening ceremony, just like the Olympics,” she said. “And there’ll be fireworks.”