I first took notice of Marzia Caravelli at the run-up prior to the 2011 Daegu World Championships. In this day and age of professional athletes, the Italian sprint hurdler stands out because she has a full-time job and still manages to excel. According to an IAAF article, the Italian “works as a teacher for deaf children and trains only during the evening.”
Photo from Marzia Caravelli
A late bloomer, won all her four national titles after she turned twenty-eight years old! The Italian 200m dash and 100m hurdles champion won her first continental medal at the 2011 European Team Championships, stopping the clock in 13.10s to place third overall. A month later, Caravelli ran an impressive 13.01s – twice.
To cap off her breakout 2011 season, Caravelli made her debut at the world stage in Daegu, finishing 26th in qualifying. Marzia eventually set a new Italian record in May 2012. In an athletics competition in France, Caravelli stopped the clock in 12.85s. She bettered the old record by an astouding twelve-hundredths of a second!
Marzia’s unique balancing act shows that elite sports and full-time employment are not mutually exclusive.
1. How did you get started with athletics?
When I was 14 I was practicing Rhythmic Gymnastics. But in one year I became too tall [to] enter the hoop and to bend and twist my body, so I decided to start with athletics, because my sister was already practicing athletics. I went with her a few times, and then [I learned to] love [athletics].
2. What’s the most memorable moment of your athletics career?
When I reach[ed] qualifications for World Championship, two years [after] my ex coach told me I [won't have a] future in athletics. And when I was third in the European Athletic Team championship, [the] same year!
3. What’s your life-long dream?
An Olympic participation, and then when I will finish my athletics career to find a job that gives me the same excitement of athletics.
4. Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?
I used to train really dressed a lot! But while competing absolutely short shorts! I need to [set] my legs free!
5. How do you manage to balance your athletics training with a full-time job?
I know I have not [much] time to train because I have to work. I know that my colleagues have all day to train and all [the] time to live as professional athletes. This makes me very angry!
Finally I’ve learned to turn that anger into strength of will. And so my two daily hours of training are intense, because I am hungry of demonstrating that all of them were wrong with me. But the truth is that my super-coach can manage the time we have in the best way, and in those two hours he is able to plan and make me do everything (or almost) I need. And until now, we have been right!
[And] last, if you add that I do a job I like, this also helps!
6. What’s your top three pump-up songs of all-time?
I don’t listen to music when I warm up or run, I prefer to be in contact with the world near me.
7. If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which would you choose?
Italy, in the south near the sea! I think I couldn’t give up our food!!
8. Name three things you can’t live without.
Pasta, Coffee and Cell phone
9. Who inspires you?
Do you Know The Ugly Duckling story?!
10. If you weren’t a hurdler, you’d be a: Sign Language Interpreter…ops, but I am!