Meet the Young Leaders: Michele Fortunato

Meet the Young Leaders: Michele Fortunato
European Athletics

Michele Fortunato is a member of the European Athletics Young Leaders Community.

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!

I'm an Energy Engineer and Developer from Italy. I'm 24 and I have spent almost half of my life in the athletics world.

How did you become involved with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community?

The first time I got in touch with the European Athletics Young Leaders was in 2012 when I won the European Athletics Innovation Award in the Category Promotion with my project TrackArena. A requirement was to submit the application and register my project on the Athletics Community website and from reading the blogs there, I learnt about the Young Leaders Forum. Only in 2014 did I have the chance to participate in the Zurich edition, seeing for the first time what was behind all of that.

What is your favourite thing about athletics?

I practiced many other sports but when I landed on the red track, I fell in love. I think athletics is one of the best sports in the world because when you practice it, you learn a lot of real life skills such as discipline, hard work, planning and many others that shape your personality in a unique way.

Who is your athletics hero and why?

I don't have a hero in athletics, because being active in this sport requires so much passion and volunteering that in my opinion everyone involved in athletics is a hero.

Which areas of the sport are you particularly interested in?

The area I'm most interested in is the media part - how the sport is communicated to the outside world, and the event management area. I'm really fascinated about all the things going on behind the scenes of an athletics meeting; that's why I have volunteered many times in international athletics events, and I'm still doing it.

If you could change one aspect of the sport, what would you change and why?

Unfortunately athletics has a big problem. There are so many wonderful things in this sport but it's really difficult to show them to the general public. Once you try athletics for a while, you can really discover this world, but at the moment we cannot convince people to start getting involved in the sport. If I could change something I would make competitions more interesting to watch in order to attract fans, but I'm glad the process is already ongoing if we are thinking about street athletics competitions.

Where do you see yourself within the sport in ten years’ time?

I really don't know where I will be and what I'll be doing in ten years, but I'll try to contribute to this sport as long as possible. Athletics has given me so much that I feel I still have a lot to give back.

What has been your highlight of Young Leaders so far?

My highlight is for sure the Amsterdam 2016 forum, where I had the chance to speak about my project in front of other young passionate people like me. We had some really good conversations about it and all of them gave me a lot of useful insight, and I hope I gave them something useful too with my workshop.

For more information about Young Leaders, please visit here