BEIJING (Reuters) – Speed skating fans were excited to discover on Saturday that women’s 3,000 metres Olympic silver medallist Francesca Lollobrigida was the great-niece of Italian film star Gina Lollobrigida.
“Speed skater — surname Lollobrigida, so of course I wonder any relation? Answer- YES! Gina is her great auntie! Fantastic,” one Twitter user said on Saturday.
“Gina Lollobrigida’s great-niece is a medal-winning speed skater! Who knew?” said another.
Lollobrigida, 30, is often asked about her relationship to the film star but the two women are not acquainted, according to Italian media.
Gina, now 94, was a star of Hollywood and Italian films during the 1950s and 1960s.
Italian record holder Francesca finished behind the Netherlands’ Irene Schouten to win her silver medal at the Beijing Winter Games.
“This silver medal is like a goal for me because I have a different story, I’m not born on ice,” said Lollobrigida who started out as an inline skater but switched to speed skating to have the chance of becoming an Olympian, and finished 23rd at the 2014 Winter Games.
“I was just thinking about push, push; there was one moment I was in front. I thought about my husband and my family cheering for me,” she said.
(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; editing by Clare Fallon)