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Who is Mattia Furlani, new star of the long jump

«For my superpowers I thank mom». He's no Superman, but he's close Mattia Furlani the new star of Italian athletics. To the Indoor World Championships in Glasgow the 19-year-old long jumper won the silver medal with the same measurement, 8.22 metres, as the Greek Miltiadis Tentoglou, Olympic champion in Tokyo and world champion in Budapest. The difference on the podium was made by the second best measurement: 8.10 for Furlani, 8.19 for Tentoglou. The Greek did not hesitate to crown his opponent: “He's a beast, he could have beaten me.” Third place for the Jamaican Carey McLeod.

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For Mattia Furlani, born in 2005, it is the first world podium in his career among the greats (but already European gold Under 20 in 2023 and Under 18 in 2022) and arrives a few weeks after the Italian record was taken from the legend Andrew Howe with 8.34 . Between the podium and the tricolor, the emotion and thoughts of his mother, who is also his coach, Khaty Seck. And then the imitation of Miles Morales who transforms into Spiderman.

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«Incredible, my medal in a race held at 10 in the morning against the Olympic champion. All this is a dream, the result of a lot of work done in recent weeks, I thank everyone for supporting me in my journey, we just need to continue on this path”, he told Rai.

«I thank my mother, she was the one who made me achieve this result. I have acquired a mental stability that has strengthened more in recent months. I'm sure that the next races will give me more experience. It's the first stage of a long journey, we need to keep our feet on the ground because there's still a lot to work on on a mental and technical level, let's continue like this.” All this for the boy who put the first blue silver around his neck in the history of the event after four bronzes, three by Giovanni Evangelisti (1985, 1987, 1991) and one by Andrew Howe (2006).

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Sports enthusiast for pleasure and family tradition. Everything revolves around Rieti, as for Andrew Howe, even though Furlani was born in Grottaferrata. Training is in the family (“always with peace of mind”): the technical guide is the mother Khaty Seck, a former sprinter of Senegalese origins married to Marcello Furlani, a former 2.27m high jumper. The brothers are also athletes. In short, that's the topic at the table. A table that is almost vegetarian thanks to a team that always follows him to make him grow: in size and in muscles.

The models? It's an all-Italian one Gian Marco Tamberi even if the jump, by choice, is not high like the Olympic champion, but long. They have in common a passion for basketball (Armani Milano in Italy, the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA) and the desire to always win. «I always liked Kobe Bryant with his Mamba Mentality, challenging oneself». The most beautiful city in the world is Rome, said by a Romanist, but the sporting heart is in Rieti. Here he also attends the sports science high school. As always for athletes there is little free time. His book is dedicated to Anime, Japanese animation. At the cinema maybe he chooses a film that he knows about sports like Creed III.

Never heard of different treatments or racism due to skin color in a national team that is multi-ethnic and with many young faces. It is no coincidence that the objectives, the bigger ones, described in an interview with Vanity Fair last year, are long-term: Paris 2024, but above all Los Angeles 2028. It can be said that Italian athletics has a present and a future smiling and full of curls.

Source: Vanity Fair

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