“Who cares? I want to go back home to mummy,” states a teenage Federica Pellegrini. “I want to get a piercing, I want to get my driving licence, graduate high school, celebrate.”
She is torn, confronting a dilemma millions have faced in the past and will continue to endure in the future. You want success, but how much and what would you give up for it?
Her sacrifices and endeavours would see ‘Fede’ become an Olympic medallist at 16, an Olympic champion four years later, win medals at eight successive World Championships and swim at a fifth Olympics – 17 years after her first.
The opening of this fascinating Amazon Prime documentary shows a side to the swimmer few if any other than those within her inner circle have witnessed though. A vulnerable, unsure individual, struggling in a moment of self-doubt.
WATCH – Federica Pellegrini returns to Rome – the scene of her historic 200m world record
When she entered poolside ahead of a race Pellegrini would often appear a focused, but stoic individual, with little concern for the wider fuss which greeted her arrival.
The truth was in stark contrast, with the swimmer experiencing extreme emotions since her shock Olympic success, through to her final Games in Tokyo.
Sacrifices, dealing with an eating disorder, coping with pressure, as well as expectation, and her relationship with long-term coach turned partner Matteo Giunta are all discussed in detail.
“My life has led me to perhaps be more reluctant to open up,” she admits. “I’ve never had a best friend. For me the love of a man has always been more important than friendship.”
In short, if you thought the medal successes formed the key chapters in Pellegrini’s life story then you would be wrong. The full picture, revealed in this documentary, is even more fascinating.
Watch Federica Pellegrini on Amazon Prime