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  Mike ‘The Italian Stallion’ Mannozzi Still Chasing His Olympic Dreams  
  Now Competing As Member Of Air Force World Class Athlete Program:   April 4, 2024 Edition  
Michael Mannozzi
      U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Mannozzi, 37, (a Boardman native and 2005 graduate of Boardman High School) currently of San Diego, Calif. where he trains and competes as part of the Air Force World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) has qualified for his fourth U.S. Olympic Trials, this time in Marathon Relay Mixed Race-Walking.
      The event will replace the 50K race-walking event at the trials that will be held later this year and features one male and female race walker, each racing two-legs---the first leg consisting of 12.2 kilometers, followed by three 10K legs. Men race the first and third leg while the female partner races the second and fourth legs. Mannozzi started in 10th and managed to move to 8th individually while he and his relay partner, Lydia McGranahan, of Wyoming, were 7th as a team.
      Mannozzi says he is laser-focused and training with other U.S. athletes and olympians to give the best chances for an Olympic Trials qualification and Olympic team birth in 2024. He missed over eight months of race walking in 2023 due to injury and managed to navigate his way with the Naval Medical for treatment and began race walking again in the fall, 2023.
      During his break from training, his wife, Jemma, obtained her U.S. citizenship and the racewalker, known as ‘The Italian Stallion,’ completed Airman Leadership School at Vandenberg Space Force Base. It was also during his time at the infamous ‘Space Force Base,’ that he set the record for the fastest walking time in the Santa Barbara half-marathon. At graduation, he was awarded the Commandant Leadership Award. This award is presented to the student who, in the Commandant’s judgement, made the most significant contribution to the overall success of the class. (defense.org).
      The break served as a healthy reset that Mannozzi needed before easing back into full time race walk training, that includes weight training, cycling, running, power walking and swimming.
      After eight weeks of training, he toed the line for what was to be his first of two Olympic Team Trials. The challenge was to come up with a race plan with his coach, 2023 World Champs silver medalist, Perseus Karlstrom. During the ten months of working together, this was Mannozzi’s first major race (the marathon medley mixed-race event).
      Mannozzi then resumed training for the 20k race held on Mar. 17 in El Cajon, Calif., his first 20k since the 2021 Olympic Trials. He finished 9th in a field of 17 entrants in 1:41:53, his best time in over seven years! This currently ranks him 13th nationally in the 20K. He plans to continue training for the Track and Field Olympic Trials in late June in TrackTown USA, Eugene, Ore.
      Next up is the Penn Relays Olympic Development 5K in late April. In 2012, he was the 10K Olympic Development champion at the Penn Relays.
      This June, he will be promoted to the rank of staff sergeant.
      Mannozzi began his race walking career at Notre Dame College in Euclid, Oh. where he garnered his first, first place race in the 3K at the 2010 NAIA championships, coming from last place to first place in the final lap of that race for the victory.
      Mannozzi says he is proud to represent his hometown of Boardman where he has received strong support from his family (that lives on Erskine Ave.) as well as Cirelli Jewelers, Outdoor Recreation Equipment, Second Sole, Pizza Joes, and the D.D. and Velma Davis Family YMCA Davis Family YMCA, and his Boardman High School wrestling coach, Dom Mancini.
 
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