UNESCO European Athletics Young Leaders Community


A view from behind the camera at London 2017

Thursday 24 August 2017

Chiara Montesano takes us back to an exhilarating couple of weeks in London for the World Championships.

When I think about my last two weeks in London, where I worked during the IAAF World Championships, the first word that comes to my mind is: WOW

When you are an athlete, or you like athletics, your biggest dream is to take part to a World Championship or an Olympics, and that was my dream too. Only one year ago I could never have imagined to be there, in London, taking pictures.

My first World Championship was the last one for two of the biggest athletes in athletics: Mo Farah, who won’t compete again on a track but only Marathons, and no explanation needed for Usain Bolt. This was one of the reasons why I will never forget this experience.

I arrived in London the day before the start of the competition and I decided to go to the stadium to get my accreditation and to get a look at the Media Centre. When I entered the stadium, and came onto the track I felt breathless. The stadium was impressive and suddenly all the competitions from London 2012 came to my mind. I was so excited thinking that in just one day I would be there taking pictures to all my favourite athletes.

The day that I’ve waited for months finally came and I started taking pictures, and I have to admit that I’m really proud of the work that I accomplished in those days. The best part in being involved in such big events is that you meet a lot of people coming from all over the world and you have the chance to compare your jobs, make new friends and learn from people who have more and different experiences than you. I also met some friends from across Europe, people that I met during the last EA Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam and that I hope to see again soon.

I also had the chance to run on the track of the Olympic Stadium during the Media Race. It is an 800m competition for Media only that takes place at every World Championship. It was really hard for me to run those two laps (I usually don’t run more than 200!), and the people were really competitive, but I won two prices! One as the youngest runner and one for the best kit, since I was wearing the Italian kit. What a great and fun experience!

I loved every single moment of these two weeks, but the most emotional moment was during the last race for Usain Bolt. I was sitting near the finish line, ready to take pictures, when he appeared on the track and all the 60.000 people who were in the stadium started cheering for him, screaming and clapping. I’ve never seen so many people in a stadium only for one athlete, everyone was there to see the final race of lightning Bolt and everyone wanted to let him know how much they were grateful to him. Everyone knows how the race finished, but in that moment, nobody cared about the result because they just wanted to say goodbye to Bolt.

This was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I hope to soon have the opportunity to join another big championship, maybe next year in Birmingham!


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