Watching Italy’s Greta Cicolari rock the sand, one might think that playing beach volleyball was a life-long calling for her. Yet “Cico”, as her friends call her, only entered the realms of this sport at the age of 27!

Sports had always been a passion of hers, and from the ages of 6 to 16 she practiced judo, going all the way to a black belt. Volleyball came into her life totally by coincidence. One of her classmates happened to play it and Greta, being an avid sports lover, joined in without ever imagining that a club in the neighbourhood would sign her up! While she started her career in indoor volleyball, in 2009 she discovered beach volleyball and fell in love with it.

On this new journey, Greta teamed up with Marta Menegatti, who is eight years her junior. Experience and youth made for a great combination with highly successful results to prove it: They won the European Championships in 2011, came second at Myslowice Open and third in Gstaad.

In her spare time Greta enjoys eating out or cooking, pasta carbonara being her speciality, and travelling around the world – which fits perfectly with her career in beach volleyball that takes her all over the world. Her favourite cities are New York and Paris, but she likes all the places she gets to visit.

Whenever she needs support in her busy life, her boyfriend Dimitri Lauwers is there for her. A basketball player who was born in Belgium before becoming an Italian citizen, he knows all about the reality of being a sports professional: He’s a member of the Belgian national team and has been playing in European club competitions for more than a decade.

While Greta enjoys the excitement of traveling, the one big drawback is being away from her family a lot of the time. They matter so much to her that she found a special way to feel close to them: a tattoo on her neck with the four interlaced letters GDAC. They stand for the names of her parents, Gianmaria and Donatella, and brothers, Alessio and Cristiano. And that is not the only one. Her calf sports a dolphin, while her right arm bears the phrase “Vouloir c’est pouvoir” (will is power), which is her personal motto. She had it done in 2009, when she decided to leave indoor volleyball, and it reminds her of the importance of working hard.

Greta Cicolari is a real sports fan, has traveled around the world, enjoys a successful career and is an inspiration to young volleyball players. Does she have anything left to achieve? Of course, and this talented FIVB Hero is determined to keep on making all her dreams come true. As she says, will is power.