Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medallist Beatrice Vio will be among the honoured Italian guests attending the White House for a State Dinner with US President Barack Obama.
The star-studded dinner, which is the 13th and expected to be the last of Obama’s presidency, will be held on Tuesday (18 October) in honour of Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Speaking of the selection of the Italian delegation joining him in Washington DC, Renzi commented that the attendees would be "made up not only by institutional figures, but also people representing the best that the country has to offer.”
“Italy will be guest of honour at the dinner at the White House. It is great that the Italian delegation won't be only an institutional one,” Renzi said.
Nineteen-year-old Vio captured Paralympic gold in the wheelchair fencing individual foil category B. It was the teenager’s Games debut following a near-perfect season that saw her go on an 11-match winning streak. Vio also led the Italian foil team to bronze after a nail-biting bout with Hong Kong's Yu Chui Yee.
Commenting on Vio, Renzi said she: "demonstrates the beauty and enthusiasm of being young today. I think that she is an example for the next generations. All the difficulties that hit her and wounded her never stopped her. I am very happy that she will board the plane with us,” he said, adding: “Let's take the Tricolore to the White House.”
Other Italians attending the 13th State Dinner include Renzi’s wife Agnese, fashion designer Giorgio Armani, actor Roberto Benigni, Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino, and the mayor of the Italian island of Lampedusa, Giusi Nicolini.
On Monday (17 October), Vio tweeted: “Dress, shoes, accessories, heeled legs... Ok, my bag is ready, tomorrow we leave for Washington. I can't believe this” (translated from Italian).
Renzi then replied: “This girl is simply amazing. Come on Bebe, let's go!”
The entertainment for the evening will be provided by US singer Gwen Stefani while the food will be prepared by Mario Batali, a US chef known for refashioning Italian classics. As with the previous additions of the black-tie event, the expected star-studded guest list will be kept under wraps until the big day.
Follow Vio’s journey to the White House on her Twitter @VioBebe.