yoocan - Greta Muti - Life is unexpected

Life is unexpected


Greta Muti

How it started...

Approximately, 27 years ago, due to multiple medical mistakes, I was born with paralysis in my left arm (Erbs Palsy). Thanks to my mother’s hard work I was able to partially regain some movement in my arm. She worked with me through physiotherapy, medical appointments, and even cello lessons. The cello lessons were a vital choice my mother made that allowed me to acquire movement in my hand by doing something amazing like music. Of course, due to my disability, I was not able to do everything other children did, but that’s why it taught me one of the most important things in life, which is the concept of adaptation. However, growing up in America and then later in Italy, I felt like the best way to adjust to having a disability was also faking not having it. In school, there were some occasions when kids made fun, and teachers did not know how to deal with my disability. Therefore, I found that hiding my disability would be the solution to avoiding problems and adapting to my environment. On the other hand, to compensate for these frustrations I was exposed to different cultures and passions. My mom is Italian and passionate about history, art, and music and my sports-loving father is german. They both are doctors and completely devoted to the scientific world. All these passions were then transferred over to my sister and me with the same intensity. This is the reason why I sing opera, paint, play the cello, and draw while studying medicine in Milan. My sister and I are very lucky to have had such role models in our life to look up to.

How it's going...

Ever since I was a baby we would visit my mother's hometown in the summer. It is an island, Isola del Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany in Italy. Every year there is a race here on wooden boats, and it is the most important event on the island. I immediately fell in love with this sport and could not wait to be old enough to join a team and compete. Finally, when I was 16, I participated with my sister Giovanna and my two cousins Giulia and Lavinia in our first race. We lost but loved the experience. My sister and I wanted to continue with this sport also throughout the school year, so when we came back to Canada, we joined the high school rowing team.  Unfortunately, To be honest it was one of the most disappointing experiences of my life, and decided that rowing on lakes with sliding seats was never going to be for me. I would just continue with my real love, which was only rowing in the races in Italy on the wooden fixed seat boats on the sea. However, when I moved to Milan with my sister to attend medical school, we decided to give the sliding seated rowing another try. That’s how my trainer, Paolo Marilli, found me and introduced me to the concept of para-rowing. He explained that if I dedicated all of myself to rowing, I could possibly join the national Paralympic rowing team. Suddenly, my world turned upside down. Studying medicine and rowing had become my life in every way. I was introduced to this beautiful world where disabilities in all their forms were accepted, and you were given the possibility to achieve the best you could achieve no matter the disability you had. I met inspiring people and Athletes that helped me come out of my shell and accept to be who I was. I understood that my disability does not define me, but it is part of who I am. It’s one of the reasons why I am the way I am. Para rowing opened my world to so many amazing opportunities. From achieving great sports goals to becoming a stronger more confident person. It helped me understand the freedom sport can give to people with certain physical limitations. I admire every single athlete for the physical and mental stress they put themselves through to achieve their goals. Now I attended Tokyo 2020 and I cannot describe the feeling of being able to participate and fight for the chance at an Olympic medal. I was surrounded by people that had to struggle through difficult moments and have found their way through their passion for the sport. Any chance I get I try to transmit this passion to kids and people with disabilities. My goal after Tokyo is to graduate as a doctor and I would love to get my chance to make a difference and dedicate my life to helping people with physical disabilities. I would like to expand the concept of rehabilitation of the body and mind that can only be given through sports and music.

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