As part of our new series, we have interviewed members of the European Athletics Young Leaders Youth Team. They were all nominated by their federations to take part in the Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam last summer and are all recognised as potential leaders of our sport in years to come.
The European Athletics Young Leaders Community is a platform for active young and ambitious people who are interested in developing work and life skills, community service and making new friends.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Gustav Magnusson, I am 21 years old and I live on the west coast of Sweden. I have been into athletics since I was just a kid and I have always loved it. I have competed mainly in the hurdles, both the 110m and the 400m hurdles.
Right now I work as a substitute teacher, teaching Swedish and Physical Education. I also study Arabic at the University of Gothenburg. Next autumn, I will try to apply to study in Amman, the capital city of Jordan.
I have also worked with the Swedish Athletics Youth Council since last spring and I have been involved in my regional council for the past two years. I like to be able to change and develop the sport of my life.
How did you become involved with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community?
I was a participant at the Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam in 2016 and after that, I felt that I wanted to take my work within athletics to a new level. I find it really nice and challenging to work with people from the whole of Europe!
What is your favourite thing about athletics?
It's a language almost everybody can speak! It doesn't matter if you're from Baghdad, Brussels or Borås you will understand and enjoy athletics. It has an including foundation and it suits pretty much everyone. It teaches the good values of life and it’s also fun. What more do you need?
Who is your athletics hero and why?
It is most definitely Susanna Kallur! She made the comeback of comebacks in 2016 by just qualifying for the Rio Olympics after years and years of battles against differents injuries. Even though she didn’t succeed in Rio [she was eliminated in the heats] she proved to me that if you never give up, you will make it.
Furthermore she stands for a lot of other good values that I really appreciate: caring, genuine and always smiling.
Which areas of the sport are you particularly interested in?
I really like sport when it works as a bridge between people and cultures. It helps us understand that we are very similar but also that we are unique in our own way! I hope that sport, in my life, will work as a bridge to other cultures and by doing so I will be a richer and better person for it.
If you could change one aspect of the sport, what would you change and why?
Cheating is one of the worst things, and therefore I reckon that the work against the use of doping in all forms is something that should be a priority in all countries.
In that line of work I would like to see a lot more democracy in general. I believe that we can use sport as a way to implement good locally attached democracy! And that that's the way of developing our sport.
Where do you see yourself within the sport in ten years’ time?
For sure I will be involved in my local club and with local athletics! I also believe that I will work in something that is related to the sport - probably in educational work, as that's the thing I am into today.
What has been your highlight of Young Leaders so far?
I must say that the week in Amsterdam was really the highlight! To meet new people and to learn more about their athletics culture is just great!! I learnt there that we are not so different from each other.