19693-Xenia Francesca Palazzo photo

Xenia Francesca Palazzo



Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Origin of Impairment
S8, SB8, SM8

Further personal information

Verona, ITA
English, German, Italian, Russian

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up the sport in 2004 in Palermo, Italy.
Why this sport?
Her mother encouraged her to take up swimming as part of her physiotherapy. "It has gone from simple therapy to a love for a sport that I still practise now. [Doctors at] all the medical centres said, 'She won't walk, she won't speak, she won't do anything'. But here I am."
Club / Team
Verona Swimming Team: Italy
Name of coach
Marcello Rigamonti [club], ITA
Training Regime
"I do one workout a day for two hours plus 30 minutes of stretching, accompanied by an hour of gym where I do many free body exercises."

International debut

Competing for
Sheffield, ENG

General interest

Listening to music, reading. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019;, 10 Apr 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Most influential person in career
Her family. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Michael Phelps, Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Go ahead, you can do it." (Comitato Italiano Paralimpico YouTube channel, 22 Aug 2016)
Awards and honours
In 2020 she received the Gold Medal for Athletic Valor from the Italian Paralympic Committee [CIP]. (Verona Swimming Team Facebook page, 04 Aug 2020)

She was named the 2014 Emerging Athlete of the Year by the Sports Veterans Veronesi Group in Verona, Italy. (, 16 Mar 2015)
Famous relatives
Her mother Nadia Valkova was an international level water polo player. Her brother Misha has also represented Italy in Para swimming, and competed at the 2018 European Championships in Dublin, Ireland. (, 08 Mar 2013; Il Corriere di Verona, 12 Jan 2017; SportsDeskOnline, 23 Aug 2018)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 21 Nov 2019)
She was born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a type of brain damage that occurs when an infant's brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood. This was caused by disseminated intravascular coagulation. She also sustained a brain haemorrhage that affected the right side of her brain, resulting in quadriplegia. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Other information
Her father is from Sicily, Italy, and her mother is Russian. (, 08 Mar 2013)


Unit Date Rank
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Final 1 2013-08-12 7
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Heat 1 2013-08-12 8
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Heat 2 2013-08-14 11
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB14 Heat 1 2013-08-16 11
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM14 Heat 1 2013-08-18 11
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Final Round 2016-09-08 8
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Heat 2 2016-09-08 5
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Final Round 2016-09-11 6
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Heat 2 2016-09-11 4
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB14 Heat 1 2016-09-14 5
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM14 Heat 2 2016-09-17 5