For the 84th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Lorenzo Guslandi. Lorenzo is a 22-year-old professional inline slalom skater, graduate school student, filmmaker and visual story teller living in Monza, Italy.

What steps did Italy take to battle COVID-19 and how are things there now?

Italy went into lockdown on March 7th and since then many things have changed. During the lockdown we stayed at home, only going outside to buy groceries and essential items. It was very tough, especially at the beginning, but I began to adapt with new daily routines to fight against the monotony of those early days. This allowed me to create happy moments during hard times. Now things are better In Italy and we can go outside again. Of course we still need to be careful, keeping a safe distance from each other and wearing a mask everywhere, except when practicing sports.

Were you skating during the COVID-19 lockdown?

Yes! I feel blessed that I was able to skate during the lockdown. I spent 70 days self-isolating in the mountains, where I have a small house. There are less people living in the mountains so my risk of being infected was much lower. I was able to skate everyday in my garage, no matter what the weather was like outside. It was pretty cold and even snowed some days, so everyday I skated with gloves and two t-shirts. The floor wasn’t great but I was very happy to be able to skate.

Now I’m back home in Monza and skate outside every morning before my university lessons begin. Even if I have to wake up early to be able to finish my training schedule before class, I feel very good because I can skate without too many people around me. It is much hotter here, by at least 10 degrees celcius (50°F), causing me to get some serious sunburns.

Is there anything that would make you stop skating?

I’m very passionate about skating and give it so much effort. Everyday I train to improve my skills and I also coach slalom online via YouTube. I try to promote the sport as much as I can through social media and making appearances on tv shows. It is very cool to received messages from people who started skating after they watched me perform on television. Also I’m a type 1 diabetic, so skating helps me control my sugar levels and makes me feel better. But to stop skating? That has never even crossed my mind to be honest.

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Are you doing any cross training?

I don’t go to gym but I do core-leg and arm exercises at home and stretch before going to bed.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your

My university studies take up a lot of my free time and skating everyday usually takes up the rest of it. But if I do get some extra time I like drawing comics and playing basketball. I also love to travel while discovering new places and meeting new people. New experiences make me feel more alive.

Lorenzo’s drawing about trekking in the mountains with his father.

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life?

My life changed quite a bit and although my university classes moved online I still had more free time than usual. In the evenings I made drawings about my pre-COVID-19 travels. I also spent more time with my family, except for my father, who I missed very much. He had to stay in Monza because he was not able to work from our mountain home. So I spent a lot of time with my sister and we started practicing acro yoga in the garden together. Now it’s become something cool of us to do when he have some free chill time. I’ve also changed the way I eat. During the lockdown we cooked healthier meals with controlled carbohydrates (to regulate my diabetes), lots of veggies, fruits, and proteins (fish, meat, eggs, cheese…).

When the pandemic is over, what are your future goals?

I’m trying my best to make the sport of inline skating more popular. I think it deserves it! Everyone who does it loves it and freestyle slalom always impresses people A LOT! It is just not well enough known. Then I want to keep creating new experiences, the best of which come from traveling. All the fond memories I make when traveling are things that I treasure in my heart. So I want to create more of these moments and have great times with my friends and family.

How is your local skate community responding? 

The skaters here respected social distancing and stayed at home during the lockdown. We are keeping ourselves in shape with home workouts, sometimes working out together via online platforms and practicing skating at home. We are now allowed to go outside and meet up with each other, but remain careful and aren’t training together yet. We may start training together again in small groups starting sometime in June. 

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

I can’t wait to see my skating friends again from all around the world! I miss competing in freestyle slalom competitions and all the feelings, emotions and relationships connected to them. I hope we will all be able to meet up again soon, somewhere in the world, to skate and slalom together.

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