The Daily Rome Taste

Young athlete trains for the upcoming Roman Track Olympics

The Young Racer

Standing at 5-foot 1-inch, 14-year-old, Andre da Villa, he is the youngest runner to be selected to compete in the Roman Track Olympics. Andre is not a normal boy. He runs a 2-minute 23-second mile! That's better than most runners could ever do. When we confronted Andre at his middle school, where he attends 8th-grade classes, he waved off our interview, but we caught him before his school race. He spoke and posed for pictures. He spoke very briefly saying that "it was a gift from god" and he will try his best to win the gold". His family said "As long as he tries, we"ll be happy for him". If Andre indeed does win, he will be the youngest person of the Roman Olympics to win.

Beginning of Andre's life

Andre grew up in the Getty Villa. He spent his whole life there. In an interview, he expressed that he would practice in the garden, running back and forth, swatting birds that were trying to eat the fruit on the bushes of the family's pomegranate trees. Andre didn't speak much about his present family. He did say that while they were growing up with his original family, his mother died and his father remarried. His stepmom brought over a nuisance of a brother. After that, he was mistreated. When his stepbrother died to an unknown effect, everyone turned to Andre. Andre was sentenced to life in prison. However, the judge felt that Andre was spiritually gifted so he dropped the charges. Andre's parents were not happy at all. They dropped Andre at the Getty Villa. Andre was 4. He was adopted by a Roman family who lived there. Through the next 8 years, Andre didn't go to school. His father just made his work. Andre said he felt it was not punishment. He said he actually enjoyed it.

Teenage Life

At 12 years old, his parents decided that it would be better if he went to school. He has attended the Getty Villa Middle School ever since. He is on the track team and is one of the most popular kids at school. Many kids envy him because of his running skills. We asked Andre's friend Marco about how Andre has been treated. He said, "He is just so fast. You can't hate someone who is fast".


Andre would win the RTO and everyone laughs at his win because it was not even close. The closest time to his was 38.6 seconds. Andre's score was 12.9 seconds! We will just have to wait to see what Andre accomplishes next.