No Comments

10 Italian American Legends In Sports And Entertainment

10 Italian American Legends In Sports And Entertainment

Magazine, The Immigrant Experience

Italian-Americans are the fifth largest ethnic group in the United States, who set aside every other identity than being American and contributed hugely towards the growth and development of their host country. Since the 1800s, nearly 26 million Italians migrated to the US, but only 15 million chose to stay and become US citizens. Regardless of the stereotypes developed against the Italians, they excelled in many fields and impacted American society positively. Take the following 10 Italian American legends, for example, who earned big names not only for themselves but also for the US.
1. Alicia Marie Sacramone
She is a famous artistic gymnast of Italian descent, who made her name in sports by grabbing 11 World Championships and Olympic Medals. She is also considered the fourth most-highlighted female gymnast in the US.
2. Jenna Prandini
She is a renowned track and field athlete, who has won National Championship two times in 200 meters sprinting in 2015 and 2018. As her surname suggests, she is of Italian origin who had started her career by jumping, and went to sprinting later.
3. Jennifer Capriati
This athlete of Italian descent is a famous International Tennis Hall of Fame and former world no. 1 tennis player. She won the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics and three singles Grand Slam tournaments as well. She also made remarkable performances in 14 professional singles tournaments in her career.
4. Rocky Marciano
Marciano is an Italian American professional boxer, who won the World Heavyweight Championship title from 1952-1956 and finished his career undefeated. He is also considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time due to his boxing speed, stamina, and style. The Ring Magazine placed him at number 14 in their ranking of 100 greatest punchers of all time.
5. Mario Andretti
Andretti is a famous Italian American racing driver who is considered to be the most successful American in the history of motorsports. He won the Formula One Championship along with many other competitions during his career. In American pop culture, his name is associated with speed. He is the only driver named as United States Driver of the Year for three decades (1967, 1978, and 1984).
6. Joe DiMaggio
DiMaggio is an Italian American Major League Baseball Champion and baseball center fielder who holds a record of 56 game hitting streak and the record still stands. He had won the Most Valuable Player Award three times and was an All-Star during his 13 years career.
7. Benedetta Pilato
Pilato is an Italian American world record-holder swimmer. She holds the world record in the long-course 50-meter breaststroke. She also bagged the European Champion in the 50-meter breaststroke in 2021, and the 100-meter breaststroke in 2020.
8. Elia Viviani
Viviani is a famous Italian American cyclist who rides for Ineos Grenadiers (a British professional cycling team). At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Elia Viviani won gold in the omnium and bronze in the omnium at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
9. Simona Quadarella
Quadarella is one of the best Italian American swimmers. She won a gold and silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju and a Bronze at the 2020 Summer Olympics. She has won nine international medals in total.
10. Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra was a famous baseball catcher who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played his last season for the New York Yankees. He won 10 World Series Championships that no player ever won. He is among the only six players who have won the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Yogi Berra is also considered to be the best baseball catcher in baseball history.
Although Italian Americans proved themselves to be true Americans by making worthwhile contributions to society, they have been stereotyped for centuries as being professional criminals. According to a study conducted by the Italic Institute of America, more than 66% of Hollywood movies in the crime, action, and drama genres portrayed Italian Americans in a negative light.
As we are celebrating October as the officially proclaimed Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month, we should play our role to end the effective stereotyping of Italian Americans as being associated with organized crime in the US, but facts show otherwise. According to FBI stats, only 0.007% of total Italian Americans were found to have connections with organized criminal groups. The remaining 15 million Italian Americans are good people, who have been playing an active role in making America a better place to live. We shouldn’t forget the Italian American history, spanning over five centuries, acknowledge and appreciate their contributions and achievements.

You might also like

More Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed