An Italian fencer Elisa di Francisca who won the silver medal while defending champion in the women’s individual foil held up an EU flag at the Rio Olympics. During her victory speech, the athlete urged the world to unite against Islamic extremism and violence.
The Italian foil fencer Francesca who was the Olympic Champion in 2012, five-time World champion and seven-time European champion, while refererring to the EU flag in Rio said: “Europe exists and is united. I did it for Paris and Brussels. If we remain united we can defeat terrorism.”
The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, called the athlete’s gesture “a powerful message of unity”, whereas chief of the EU foreign policy Federica Mogherini tweeted Francesca’s praise and added “the flag of Europe, the ideals of the best youth-bravo twice”. However, not everyone welcomed the athlete’s gesture. Matteo Salvini, an Italian MEP and leader of the right-wing Northern Leagues said that “Francesca is very good but the EU is worst of institutions, and with the EU flag there is little to rejoice in”.