Caironi is one of Italy’s biggest Paralympic talents, and with two Paralympic, five world and two European titles to her name, it is no big surprise.
At the London 2017 World Championships, Caironi won both the 100m T42 and long jump T42 titles, leaping to a best of 4.72m while in the 100m, she clocked 14.65 - the only athlete to go under 15 seconds.
While she may not have had her great rival Vanessa Low for company – the German-born Para athlete didn’t compete in London – Caironi’s performances were nonetheless impressive after the start of her season was hampered by injury.
Caironi, who lost her left leg above the knee after a motorcycle accident in 2007, won her first major title at the London 2012 Games, where she took gold in the 100m T42.
Long jump and 100m T42 gold followed at the 2013 World Championships, but it was in 2015 that the Italian really set the world alight.
In June that year she lowered her 200m T42 world record three times to 31.73 seconds and bettered her own 100m record. At the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, she broke the 100m T42 world record twice. In the semi-finals she posted 15.01, before a scintillating 14.61 in the final secured her the world title.
She had to settle for world silver in the long jump as Low leapt 4.79m to top the podium, also taking the world record the pair had previously jointly held.
Despite an early season injury, Caironi got herself in shape for the 2016 European Championships on home soil in Grosseto, Italy. She retained her 100m (15.80) crown from Swansea 2014 and took silver in the long jump (4.48m) behind Low.
At Rio 2016 she successfully defended her 100m T42 Paralympic title. In the heats she lowered the Paralympic record to 14.80, before clocking 14.97 in the final. In the long jump she set a personal best of 4.66m for silver as Low claimed gold.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
Three months before the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro she had injury problems and issues with her prosthesis. (valoreresponsabile.startupitalia.eu, 29 Sep 2020)
An ankle problem meant she had to take a break from the long jump after competing at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (ilgiorno.it, 20 May 2013)
She was flag bearer for Italy at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (iodonna.it, 2016)
She was named the 2015 Paralympic Athlete of the Year at the Gazzetta dello Sport Awards in Milan, Italy. (comitatoparalimpico.it, 18 Dec 2015)
In May 2015 she was named Athlete of the Month by the International Paralympic Committee [IPC]. (insidethegames.biz, 08 Jun 2015)
In November 2019 she tested positive for the banned steroid clostebol in an out-of-competition test in Bologna, Italy. She was provisionally suspended and missed the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She said the banned substance was contained in a cream she used to treat an ulcer on the stump of her amputated leg, which she said she had used in small doses before declaring it as a Therapeutic Use Exemption [TUE]. She initially faced a 12-month ban, but Italy's national anti-doping organisation accepted her explanation that use of the cream was for therapeutic purposes and not intended to enhance performance. She was handed a four-month ban that ended on 09 March 2020. "I was naive, I read the leaflet for the cream and asked a federal doctor, but I should have investigated further, especially the TUE procedure." (apnews.com, 07 Nov 2019; bergamo.corriere.it, 03 Feb 2020; bergamo.corriere.it, 07 Feb 2020; raiplayradio.it, 10 Feb 2020)
IMPACT OF SANCTION
The four-month suspension she received in late 2019 significantly impacted her psychological well-being, which was compounded by an infected ulcer on her stump that left her unable to train. "I consider myself a balanced person, but at that point I was afraid of hurting myself. I had no way to vent. I'm hyperactive and couldn't run. I felt abandoned, excluded from my world, everything was crumbling. It can drive you crazy. I even thought about changing sports, to snowboarding, which I really like. I vented on my poor husband. If I had been alone, who knows what might have happened. The experience has made me grow up. It helped me, even if it hardened my heart a little. It taught me to be patient. I don't want to forget this episode, but now I am looking forward. The ulcer on my stump is better now, but I have to be careful not to force it." (bergamo.corriere.it, 07 Feb 2020)
The prosthesis that she intends to wear at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo has been designed by postgraduate students at the European Institute of Design [IED] in Milan, Italy. "Since I like colours and I like to express myself through them, I asked the young IED designers to do something that would suit me. They managed with their professionalism to reflect my desire. A design object like this is something lasting and can have an impact not only on my life, but also on the people who will see me in the race and to which I will be able to communicate something different." (ilgiorno.it, 04 Oct 2020; raiplayradio.it, 29 Sep 2020; ilfaroonline.it, 09 Sep 2020)
She has appeared in documentaries called 'Niente Sta Scritto' [Nothing Is Written] and 'L'Aria Sul Viso' [The Air on the Face]. She also featured in the music video for the song 'Change' by the Italian band Earth Beat Movement. (Athlete, 30 Jun 2020)
|Women's Long Jump F42/44||Final Round||2012-09-02||13|
|Women's 100 m T42||Final Round||2012-09-05||1|
|Women's Long Jump T42||Final 1||2013-07-22||1|
|Women's 100 m T42||Final 1||2013-07-27||1|
|Women's Long Jump T42||Final 1||2015-10-22||2|
|Women's 100 m T42||Heat 1||2015-10-29||1|
|Women's 100 m T42||Final 1||2015-10-30||1|
|Women's Long Jump T42||Final Round||2016-09-10||2|
|Women's 100 m T42||Final Round||2016-09-17||1|
|Women's 100 m T42||Heat 1||2016-09-17||1|
|Women's 100 m T42||Final 1||2017-07-16||1|
|Women's Long Jump T42||Final 1||2017-07-23||1|