Hi all!

Today, Scorum Italia has the big pleasure to introduce you the fantastic Camilla Zampese, Italian and European BMX Champion (2010).

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She joined the Italian Community here on Scorum as @camy86...follow her!

In her intro post, Camilla has already told something of herself, but an athlete of her importance deserves a more depth presentation.

So, she accepted with great kindness and enthusiasm to be interviewed here.

Thank you very much, Camilla, for being with us!

Let's start with a question that, I'm sure, you have received hundreds of times...

How and when was your passion for BMX born?

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I started bmx when I was 8 years old.

A little, I think it was fate. There are less than 20 tracks in Italy and I live only at 400 meters from mine.

I saw it every day and the curiosity to try was always bigger. So when there was an opportunity, that's a series of open days for those who wanted to try, I immediately asked to do it.

That first experience was enough for me to understand that I wanted to do it...a real love at first sight, I immediately fell in love with it!

Bmx is a tough sport, even dangerous, by definition it's not something for ladies. Is there a greater difficulty for a girl who practices it at high level, than a male colleague? And how many girls are practicing this sport on a professional level in Italy?

In Italy there are very few girls who run and, first in Junior and now in Élite, I think I was the only Italian girl in history (certainly since I started racing) to compete in International competitions with good results. In 2014 at the age of 17 I got a 7th place at the World Championships in Rotterdam, in the Junior category.

I've always raced against boys and even up to 15/16 years I've competed well. Especially when I was a little girl, I was always the one to fear, being forward to me was not easy. In short, there was no difference, I made podiums in the Italian Championships despite being the only girl to run.

Girls develop before boys and, in fact, there was a period in which I was more structured than them and I had more strength.

But when are boys to grow, well...there's no more challenge, unfortunately!

Moreover, a difference with the guys, in addition to a physical issue, concerns emotionality. Being a girl, I have always lived in a very emotional and rational way my experiences...emotions like fear have slowed me down a lot and then...I think too much! BMX is a sport that requires a clear and free mind and obviously a bit of insanity!

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In Italy, there are structures that allow to reach the highest level?

The structures are good, in the province of Verona there is an Olympic-sized track, in which took place the European Championship Final of 2016.

But these are few and mainly concentrated in the same regions.

And few are the riders in the whole Italy. I often race with the same people, the competition is not so fierce as in other European countries and this is a factor that I note abroad already from the Junior categories.

But I think this is a problem that have all the little-known and sometimes wrongly considered "minor" sports.

Ok, let's talk about you. What was the role of your family and what do your friends think about your choice of life?

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My family has always supported me, especially when I was a child. 

We did some nice trips together, both in Italy and abroad. I still remember my first European Championship of 2007, in France. We were in tent and both my parents were there with me to support me. It was one of the most important and beautiful moments of all these 12 years of BMX, especially because I was back home with my first win!

My friends too have always been enthusiastic about me and my experiences.

Then, also the team and all the people who support you and are close to you, becomes your "family".

What's the most important thing you had to give up for the BMX?

Already at an early age, I started traveling a lot, I was often absent from school and far from my friends.

The BMX season ends in October, with European and World Championships in the summer time.

For this reason, during my teenage years, I rarely have gone on holiday.

After school, training took up most of my time, every day twice. I was very tired in the evening and I had very little free time.

I also renounced parties, birthdays, important events, evenings with my friends.

Sometimes, I feel different from my peers, because of my lifestyle.

But one thing is sure: I don't regret anything and I would do it all over again. They were all sacrifices that allowed me to do what I was most passionate about and specially that gave me the possibility to live incredible experiences.

Your most beautiful race?

The choice is not simple, more than one race deserves to be mentioned.

But I want to select the 2012 European Championship raced in Vicenza.

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That European at home was wonderful, because the tribunes were full of my friends, mates and people from my country, cheering for me!

I was looking forward to that moment, but on Tuesday before the race I suffered a bad fall. The result was a strong hit on the side of my leg that prevented me even walking.

I don't know what it was, I didn't even made medical exams, I only wanted that everything would go away before the weekend. But my condition did not improve too much and on Saturday the pain was so strong that I decided not to participate to the first day of race.

But I had so much desire to compete that Sunday I made my decision: not to miss the race for any reason.

I felt pain in the qualifications and I was not in the top positions, but, however, I succeeded to qualify for the final.

In the final, I had too much determination and the consciousness of being the strongest made me forget all the pain. I could not ride to the 100% of my strength, but, despite this, I arrived in the first position and, once on the lead, I dominated the race until the end, accompanied by the exultation of all the public and of my friends!

I still remember very well that feeling of happiness and satisfaction when I crossed the line...It was one of the most beautiful and gritty races I've ever done.

All the strength that brought me to the victory did not start from the body, but from the head. The head, especially in the race, is much more important than any athletic training.

What was the worst moment, instead?

The injuries, which are part of the game, is undeniable.

Unexpectedly they arrive and so, suddenly, they destroy the work of all the previous months.

The injury demoralizes, especially when it happens in moments of maximum form.

In my experience, I can mention fractures, micro fractures, distortions, blows, cuts, etc.

Then, instead, the worst moment experienced in the race, it was probably during the last World Cup that I raced in Manchester in 2016. (Indeed, it's as if I had not made that race). The period was not the best. I had disappointments and lived difficult moments that dragged me in a very negative circle. Mentally I was absent, full of insecurities, anxiety at high levels and fear of not making good, but, above all, of deluding people around me. 

I was so stuck in that suffocating anxiety and surrounded by negative feelings, that when I was on the track, I was in danger of hurting myself...and so it happened.

After that bad experience, I decided to take a break and not to touch the bike for a while, at least until I found the right balance and a little bit of serenity.

So I understood that we must never neglect or avoid listening ourselves.

When the mind asks for a break, it must be conceded

When the body asks for a break, you have to give it.

If the competition doesn't make you feel good, then something is wrong. We need to start making ourselves some questions, eventually accepting our own limits and knowing how to stop when it's necessary.

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You joined from few days on the network. What do you think about Scorum and what are your targets here?

About Scorum, I immediately thought it was a very interesting and original platform.

Without creating programs or expectations (which I don't like), the only thing that I surely want to do here is share my experiences, talk about BMX and how sport has been for me a life doctrine.

Furthermore, BMX is a little known sport and, for this reason, I think it should be told more.

What are your next sport's targets? Do you think you have reached your limits or do you want to try to still improve yourself?

I still have lots of goals to achieve!

The passion for this sport is huge and my targets, compared to before, are more of a personal type. I'm trying to improve myself and learning new things, aiming to increase my technical level and to gain a lot more confidence with the bike. Having no more pressure than once, I think it's the perfect time to do it!

I'm challenging myself on the "manual" for example, both on the track and in the street. From the beginning of the year, I see enormous improvements and it's great when you can see a result after so many months of exercise!

In short, for the moment this is my biggest goal: to improve myself, stay fit and, above all, serene.

Then, for the future...well, who knows?

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                             Interview edited by @girolamomarotta for @scorum-italia

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