Rather than interview another Strength Athlete, I thought it would be good to speak with Andrea Legnaioli, who is the Vice President of the recently formed FIS.man. (ITALIAN STRONGMAN FEDERATION).
In this interview we talk about what is involved in setting up a federation, and what this federation has planned for increasing the popularity of the sport in Italy.
Phil Burgess: How did you get involved in setting up the Italian Strongman Federation?
Andrea Legnaioli: I’m involved in Italian’s Strongman Federation because since 2010, myself and others in the new organization, have organized the Ironman Lugnano event. This is an annual demonstration that takes its inspiration from Strongman competitions.
After 2 years of running these events, we spoke to Francesco Comini (now FIS president) who was involved in the powerlifting’s federation and after a few meetings, we decided to set up FIS.man. (Federation of Italian Strongmen)
Phil Burgess: Why hasn’t Italy had a strongman federation previously and what are the main steps you have had to do to set it up? Is it affiliated with any if the international strongman federations?
Andrea Legnaioli: It is a good question… I think that Italy hasn’t previously had a Strongman federation because no-one has had the right idea and the right people to rely on.
Using Ironman Lugnano’s experience, we can rely on good Strongman Equipment and good harmony between the organization’s people that is very important to set up the federation.
The main steps that we have had to set up the federation has been:
- Building of new pieces of equipment
- Setting up the organizational rules and processes where our president and our secretary-general (Marco Ciangherotti) have been fundamental.
- Putting together the Organizational information.
- Finding good locations for the events.
It is hard to find good locations because Strongman is not only a sporting event, but it also needs to be a spectacular event too. When we search for good locations, we have to fight with many municipal administrations that dont understand the Strongman discipline and requirements.
We are not affiliated with other international strongman’s federations because we think that we have to do it, step by step. We have already talked with the most important Strongman’s federations but we will affiliate with them in the next year.
Phil Burgess: Are you aware of any other countries in Europe who are currently setting up their own Strongman Federations?
Andrea Legnaioli: No, I don’t as far as I am aware. I know that there are many Strongman’s federations in Eastern Europe and in Northern Europe, which have been around for many years.
I had been in contact with Poland’s federation a few days ago because their president, lives in Italy too. Their Strongman Federation started in 1998, so they have so much more experience than us. I learnt alot from discussions with them.
Phil Burgess: When and where are you holding 2012 Italy’s Strongest Man?
Andrea Legnaioli: Italy’s Strongest Man, will be held on 15th April 2012 in Cavour (near Turin), then we have competitions on:
- 19th May Pontedera (near Pisa)
- 7th July in Bardi’s castle (near Parma)
- 21st July, in Vicopisano (always near Pisa), which is included in IronmanLugnano’s week.
We are still working on locations for the second half of 2012, and are currently meeting with the municipal administrations for these future events.
Phil Burgess: Is the sport of Strongman increasing in popularity in Italy and how is your Strongman Federation going to promote it?
Andrea Legnaioli: Yes, It is.
The sport of strongman is increasing in Italy because there are many satellite televisions which show the strongman competitions around the world.
To promote it more, we have to offer, many good strongman competitions.
Then we have to involve everybody, starting with the kids, ending with the seniors. It will only increase in popularity by holding spectacular shows.
Phil Burgess: My final question. How long do you think you will have to wait until the worlds strongest man is won by an Italian ?
Andrea Legnaioli: I hope it will be won by an Italian next year :), but I’m afraid that we will have to wait a long time to celebrate an Italian winner…
We are satisfied that we can begin to work on this dream, when it will be possible, we will be happiest people in the world!…
Thanks Andrea and I wish you all the best for your federation in 2012 and beyond, and please let us know how about your competitions.