Interview: Sport and athletes in the time of COVID-19
A chat with Emanuele “Lele” Becchis, World Record holder on 100m in Free Technique at the König Ludwig Lauf Supersprint in 2019
There is no need saying that the COVID 19 pandemic situation, that is currently having half of the World population staying at home, is also having a huge impact on our daily lives. As big changes have been done in the essential activities, also leisure activities and events have been cancelled, or better, they had to find different ways of cheering up people’s spirit and enhance motivation every day.
Sport and sport events had to stop, but this does not mean that sport cannot be still part of our lives: athletes have currently an active role in motivating people being active at home, so we met Emanuele (Lele) Becchis, Italian sprinter and World Record holder on 100m in Free Technique. You might ask what has a sprinter to do with Worldloppet? He made the World record right at König Ludwig Lauf’s Supersprint in 2019 and won this year’s competition in Oberammergau too.
Besides this, he has been participating to Vasaloppet China in 2018 and 2019, and he liked it that much that we might see him soon on the track of other ski-marathons. But he is also a ski-trainer, so besides hearing his experience at Worldloppet, we will listen to his sports recommendations and take some inspiration on home-sports activities.
Ciao Lele, last year you have established the new world record on the 100m in FT on the track in Oberammergau, how was it to compete again on that track this year and conquer another victory?
It was a nice experience to come back to Oberammergau. I had just won the Trysil super sprint, so I was quite confident, ready to fight. I am happy because I have a really good feeling with that track and I was very satisfied to win again and getting to the top of the World Sprint Series circuit (since the circuit had to stop I theoretically won it, but let us wait to celebrate until the news is official). So yes, it has been a great emotion! I have always had a good feeling with Germany in my races generally, so I am glad I took part to it.
So far, we have seen you competing in super sprint races, will we ever see you with a Worldloppet passport, facing ski-marathons like Marcialonga or König Ludwig Lauf?
So far, I have only competed in super sprint races yes, I never did long-distances. Only once, I took part to Vasaloppet China, but I am sure I will get a passport in the future – I had already heard about it – and will race to get as many stamps as possible. So yes, in the future, when I will be done with sprints I will ski long-distances, for sure!
How did it feel like to participate to a long-distance race for once, how was the atmosphere compared to a sprint event?
The answer is “exhausting”! Well, it has been a really cool experience, I had never been to a long-distance race and in China the atmosphere and context are great, from ice-statues to all side events, the fanfare playing, the shows, all was different from a super sprint. Super sprints are more spectacular as a sports product, they are fast, you need to pay attention for a short time and you know right away who wins. Watching a ski-marathon for spectators can be harder: if you watch it on tv you can follow it…it is more like a road-bike race, it is great to watch the whole, but if you do not have anyone explaining it, it can get boring. But taking part to it, is another story: especially for amateurs it is better to ski a ski-marathon as you can enjoy the skiing, whereas a super sprint is too fast to do so. Each race format has its pros and cons. I had for sure great fun in the first loop – you know, there are 2 loops of 25km each – but the second loop has been more tiring than fun, but all in all it has been a great experience…it was very cold, I remember that well, but it was amazing skiing in China!
Covid-19, useless to say that the virus and the security measures have had a huge impact on the winter season and on everyone’s life, including that of athletes: how did they impact your life and trainings?
Well, it has influenced everything, we should have had many more races and more than one month of season, until mid-April…so it influenced everything for sure!
The first part of isolation was more relaxed: I used the first days to spend time with my family and recharge my energies. Now, I started training again. I am lucky to have a small gym in the cellar, that I have been building up during the past years, so I can still train well and work more on the muscular side and less on aerobics. My big luck is to have a garden, so I can also be in the fresh air and do some exercises outdoor, jumps and funny loops.
You are also a ski trainer: some practical hint to all the Worldloppet athletes that have to stay home or in their home surrounding, but want to be active?
To all the Worldloppet skiers, I can recommend to keep on training, also inside your homes you can do a great core training or a general work on muscles, also with non-conventional means, non-conventional weights that we use in our daily lives, like water bottles, fruit boxes or so. Everyone gets very creative in this and can find valid alternatives. But the important thing is to keep on training, don’t stay too long on the couch: it is true, the next races are still quite far, but it is very important to keep active, mostly to help our mood and daily isolation-routine!
This is one of Lele’s last alternative trainings on his Instagram channel 🙂 Just to get some inspiration and a smile!< Back