Beatrice “Bebe” Vio born on March 4, 1997, is an Italian wheelchair fencer, European champion in 2014 and 2016, World champion in 2015, and Paralympic champion in 2016 in the foil B category.
Vio was born in Venice and in her childhood she pursued three passions: school, fencing, which she took up when she was five, and scouting. In 2008 she contracted severe meningitis, which caused the necrosis that led to the amputation of both her legs from the knee, and both her arms from the forearms.
But this did not stop her and after more than three months of intensive rehabilitation she was able to come back to sport. She took part in her first wheelchair fencing competition in 2010 and with her parents she found the non-profit organization Art4sport Onlus, which promotes sport for amputee young people.
In 2012, at the age of 15, she joined the Italian wheelchair fencing team. In 2013 she won her first World Cup in Montreal. After a brief pause to concentrate on her studies, in 2014 she won both the individual and team competition at the European Championships and was named “Italian Paralympic athlete of the year“, together with athlete Oxana Corso. In 2015 she became world champion and in 2016 she won her second European title. In 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio she came out of the pool stage undefeated, winning her five pool bouts on 5–0 and proceeded to earn the Paralympic gold winning 15–7 against China’s Jingjing Zhou.
Her relentless passion for life can be appreciated in her autobiography, “Mi hanno regalato un sogno” (I have been given a dream). She also give inspirational talks in schools and squares to pass the message that, with or without disabilities, life is awesome.
Ilona Catani Scarlett