Today I want to tell you the story of a great little hero of today: Manuel Bortuzzo. With him I share a great passion: swimming, in fact up to three years ago he was a young promise of Italian swimming.
Until a few years ago, Manuel was a boy like many others who dreamed of becoming a swimming champion. Thanks to his tenacity and his skills as a swimmer from a small village near Treviso he moved to Ostia, to train in one of the most important Italian centers for emerging swimmers. His specialty is cross-country skiing, to which he dedicates himself with a lot of passion to try to improve his performance. Unfortunately, his life is destined to change, in fact, on the evening of February 3, 2019, Manuel was in front of a tobacconist with his ex-girlfriend, when he was hit by a gunshot. Unfortunately, it was a matter of mistaken identity.
The situation immediately appears very serious because the blow caused a spinal cord injury, which creates immobility in his lower limbs and forces him into a wheelchair. Fortunately, the spinal cord injury is not complete, and therefore the young man still has the hope of one day walking again.
After being the victim of one of the most well-known news cases of the period, Manuel does not give up and decides to transform what appears to be a sentence to interrupt his dreams, into a drive to try to do more and more. He decides to continue living in Rome to face the rehabilitation process that leads him to try to give concrete hope and want to be an example for many young people. Manuel starts talking to them during various motivational meetings. He publishes a book entitled “Reborn, the year I started winning again”. He takes part in many public events and among his projects, there is also television. In recent months we have seen him at GFVIP, where he entered to tell his story and to address a social issue that affects everyone: disability. In 2021 he also participated in a docufilm on the theme of swimming, the title is “Last race”, together with him are the former swimmer Raul Bova and the Olympic champions Emiliano Brembilla, Massimiliano Rosolino, and Filippo Magnini. The film tells a story of friendship, humanity, and values.
Manuel Bortuzzo is an example for those who want to make their dreams come true. His willpower goes beyond the boundaries of reason to arrive where only the heart sees a finish line, in his case the finish line is at the end of the lane of an Olympic swimming pool. In fact, Bortuzzo could be called up to participate in the Paralympics and that is why he will soon resume training in the pool.
I wanted to tell this story because it symbolizes the desire to transform a tragedy into a real opportunity for rebirth.