by Doriano Rabotti
Stefano Mei is a lucky man. And he does not hide it: “I became president of the Athletics Federation at the end of January 2021 and the indoor medals of Tamberi, Jacobs and Dal Molin arrived in March. Then the summer was extraordinary”, said he confided in Forlì, receiving the Ussi-Gergs Prize in front of the students of the sports high school.
Hard to think that in a few months everything is thanks to him…
“The athletes and technicians were the same as before. I don’t know if I was lucky or if those before me didn’t do well. It’s fine with me anyway, over time we won’t talk only results, which remain”.
Definitely no president has known his emotions.
“On August 1, we lived an unforgettable moment, perhaps the most important page in Italian sport. Just in 12 minutes, after Tamberi’s victory in the high jump, came Jacobs’ victory in the 100. And then Marcell continued to put them in all ranks at the world indoor championships.
Do you think Jacobs can be worth a 9″73 out of 100?
“Even less, even 9” 70. This winter, going on a pitch that was not his to beat Coleman in a comeback at 60 showed that in the next forty meters he could have paved it”.
What has changed for your sport since that day?
“It’s bad to say, perhaps, but athletics paradoxically benefited from the Covid, because with the sports halls closed, many families had already started to bring their children back to outdoor sports. Then came the results, the number of practitioner resources has also increased, thanks to the great media space gained. But the demands of the athletes are also increasing”.
Speaking of media: how do you deal with the explosion of these samples?
“Individual sport allows everyone to choose their path, athletes have managers and social media specialists. But I see that the boys know how to move well, we as a Federation are a little behind. We are working on it, we We were a little “overwhelmed by so many successes that happened at the same time. But the boys are good even on their own”.
As a former athlete, have you ever given in to the temptation to get into technical things?
“Precisely because I am a former athlete I take care of it, it’s not my role. I have to take care of putting the technicians in the conditions to do their best”.
Now the hardest part is to confirm.
“I believe that if you asked a football manager if he would rather train fifteen footballers or fifteen champions, he would tell you that champions are better to have. Ours are all serious, good. And there are excellent athletes ready behind them.” in youth academies. In athletics the spirit of emulation is very strong, it’s an individual sport, when you see your partner win you are not happy and you want to compete”.
You are still a cop. Is it true that he once chased and caught a thief?
“Yes, it was unfortunate. He was stealing a bicycle in the city park of Forlì, he ran away quickly, but then I took him away.”
Mei, you are a La Spezia transplanted to Forlì, a fan of La Spezia: she is also doing well there…
“La Spezia is passion, I don’t lose a game. Athletics is work”.