Angelina Lanza signed her first track and field license in 2003 at AS Beauvert, a neighbourhood club in Grenoble. She was barely ten years old—an age when children experiment with everything. She tried sprinting, long jump, high jump and even throwing, but settled on the first two disciplines in the end. Why? Because they “gave her a thrill”.
For a decade she competed against “able-bodied” athletes in every tournament, though she has impaired muscle power in her left arm from a childhood bout with polio. As she competed in yet another event in 2010, she was spotted by Jean-Baptiste Souche, coach of France’s para-athletic teams. Smart move: just a few weeks later, Angelina won her first para-athletic title at the French indoor championships.
From multiple injuries to multiple medals
But from 2012 to 2014, her progress was slowed by a series of muscle injuries. “My body wasn’t ready to perform at the elite level, and the team and I didn’t fully realize that rebalancing my running style would have such a big impact on my muscles”, Angelina recalls. Today, she’s better able to manage these challenges—and she has completed a Master’s degree in foreign languages at a university in Lyon.
She’s also back to winning. At the 2016 European Championships in Grosseto, Italy, she won three bronze medals in the 100m, 200m and long jump events. Two years later—now licensed with Lyon Athlétisme track and field club—she competed at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, capturing two gold medals, in 200m and long jump. And these will surely be the first of many major titles.
In my job at the SNCF Réseau regional unit for Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, both of my primary tasks revolve around planning events. That includes preparing for activities that raise driver awareness on France’s Level Crossing Day—and there’s more to come, including creating informational flyers on project sites. My work in communications is my anchor. During the day, I concentrate on that, and in the evening, I focus on sport. The intellectual stimulation is good for me. What do I contribute? As an athlete, I know what it means to have long-term goals and take a big-picture view of a project. I’m very happy to put my skills to work for a company like SNCF. It’s great to work here, and I really enjoy my colleagues because—as in sport—everyone is moving forward together to reach shared goals.
- 5th in 200m and 4th in long jump at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 5th in long jump and 6th in 100m in the 2015 championships in Doha, Dubai
- 3rd in long jump at the 2017 championships in London, UK
- Bronze medals in 100m, 200m and long jump at the 2016 championships in Grosseto, Italy
- Gold medals in 200m and long jump, and silver medal in universal relay at the 2018 championships in Berlin, Germany
1 Institut National du Sport, de l'Expertise et de la Performance