Alberto Tomba

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Alberto Tomba
— Alpine skier —
Alberto Tomba Zagreb 2009.jpg
Tomba at Snow Queen Trophy, Zagreb, 2009
Disciplines Slalom, Giant Slalom,
Super G
Club C.S. Carabinieri
Born (1966-12-19) 19 December 1966 (age 47)
San Lazzaro di Savena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
World Cup debut 16 December 1985
(age 18)
Retired March 1998 (age 31)
Website albertotomba.it
Olympics
Teams 4 – (198898)
Medals 5 (3 gold)
World Championships
Teams 6 – (198797)
Medals 4 (2 gold)
World Cup
Seasons 13 – (198698)
Wins 50 – (15 GS, 35 SL)
Podiums 88 – (31 GS, 57 SL)
Overall titles 1 – (1995)
Discipline titles 8 – (4 GS, 4 SL)

Alberto Tomba (born 19 December 1966) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from Italy. He was the dominant technical skier (slalom and giant slalom) in the late 1980s and 1990s. Tomba won three Olympic gold medals, two World Championships, and nine World Cup season titles: four in slalom, four in giant slalom, and one overall title. He was popularly called Tomba la Bomba ("Tomba the Bomb").

Early years[edit]

Alberto Tomba was born in Bologna and raised in Castel de Britti, a village in the municipality of San Lazzaro di Savena, – an area without strong alpine traditions, but not far from the appenninic piste of Monte Cimone and Corno alle Scale. As a child, he participated in sports like tennis, soccer, and dirt biking, but he found that his greatest passion was for skiing.

In 1984 he took part in the Junior World Championships, where a fourth-place finish won him a position on the national B team. That year, in a parallel slalom exhibition in San Siro, Milan, he surprised everyone by beating every member of the A team. After three wins on the Europa Cup circuit, Tomba made his World Cup debut in December 1985 at Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, three days before his nineteenth birthday. Two months later, in Åre, Sweden, he surprised the skiing world by finishing sixth from the 62nd starting position. His first podium came the following season in Alta Badia, Italy in December 1986, and later that winter he won bronze in the giant slalom at the 1987 World Championships in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

Rise to fame[edit]

On 27 November 1987, Tomba scored his first World Cup victory, in a slalom at Sestriere, Italy. Two days later he won the giant slalom, beating his idol, Ingemar Stenmark. It was now clear that Tomba was a force to be reckoned with within the alpine skiing world.

He went on to win nine races that 1988 season, winning the World Cup titles in both slalom and giant slalom, but runner-up in the overall standings to Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland. During this early part of his career, Tomba also competed in super G, an event he would continue to run until 1989, despite never finishing better than fourth.

At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Tomba won gold medals in slalom and giant slalom. In the first run of the GS, he finished an impressive 1.14 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. "Tomba la Bomba" ("Tomba the Bomb"), as he was known, also earned some notoriety by asking out East German figure skater Katarina Witt, whom he met again later on.

Tomba was not as successful in the following two seasons, winning a total of four World Cup races. At the 1989 World Championships in Vail, Colorado, he could do no better than sixth place in the super G and seventh in the giant slalom. From 1989 to the end of his career, Tomba was surrounded by his own technical staff managed by former Olympic champion Gustav Thöni and condition trainer Giorgio d'Urbano, who worked with him during ten seasons.

In the 1991 season, Tomba returned to his winning ways, winning the giant slalom World Cup title for a second time while finishing fourth in the slalom standings. He ended 4th in slalom at the 1991 World Championships at Saalbach-Hinterglemm (Austria) and crashed in the second giant slalom run after having clocked the fastest time in the first leg, handing the victory to Austria's Rudolf Nierlich, the two-time winner at Vail, Colorado, two years earlier. In September 1991, he also met former Miss Italy, Martina Colombari, whom he dated during several years.

Tomba's career reached its second peak during the 1992 season with nine victories and fifteen podiums, and he once again captured the season-long discipline titles in both his technical specialties. His duel with Paul Accola for the overall World Cup crown extended until the very end of the season and the Finals at Crans-Montana, but the Swiss skier scoring points in all disciplines including downhill and combineds ultimately prevailed. At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, Tomba won what was to be his last gold medal at Val d'Isère, in the giant slalom, and picked up a silver in the slalom. In Val d'Isère, he became the first alpine champion to successfully defend an Olympic title when he won the giant slalom ahead of Marc Girardelli.

The 1993 World Championships, held in Morioka, Japan, again proved to be his nemesis. Tomba was suffering from a fever during the giant slalom and made a critical mistake in the slalom, failing to reach the podium in either race. To make matters worse, he only managed to win a single World Cup race in the entire 1993 season.

Overall World Cup champion[edit]

Tomba was back to his usual ways at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. After the first run of the slalom, he was seemingly out of medal contention, 1.84 seconds behind leader Thomas Stangassinger, but in the second run he recovered to the second place and won the silver medal.

It soon became apparent that the 1995 World Cup season would be his best yet. From December 1994 to March 1995, he amassed an impressive 11 victories in the technical events including seven in a row in slalom to finally capture the overall World Cup title that had eluded him in years past and bringing the Crystal Globe back to Italy, twenty years after Gustav Thöni's last title in 1975.

At the 1996 World Championships, Tomba finally added the final missing pieces to his trophy case, winning two gold medals at Sierra Nevada, Spain. His GS victory came thanks to a second-run rally from 0.81 seconds behind.

After the 1996 World Championships, Tomba began contemplating retirement. He decided to come back for one more World Championship, held in 1997 on his home snow in Sestriere. He was disqualified in the giant slalom and had a disappointing first run in the slalom, but an excellent second run was good enough for his last major medal, a bronze. He decided to continue competing for one more year.

Tomba's performance at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano was a sign that his career was winding to a close: for the first time in his Olympic career, he failed to medal after crashing in giant slalom. He suffered a painful injury and was not able to start in the second slalom run after losing much time in the first leg.

Alberto Tomba retired at the end of the 1998 season, but not before winning a last World Cup race at the Finals at Crans-Montana where he grabbed the slalom, becoming the only alpine male skier to have won at least one World Cup race per year for 11 consecutive seasons.

Later in life[edit]

At the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Turin, Tomba brought the Olympic Flame into the stadium where he handed it off to the men's 4 x 10 km gold medalists from the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer (De Zolt, Albarello, Vanzetta, Fauner).

Medals[edit]

Winter Olympic Games[edit]

Alpine World Ski championships[edit]

  • 1987 – bronze in giant slalom at Crans Montana, Switzerland.
  • 1996 – gold in giant slalom, gold in slalom at Sierra Nevada, Spain.
  • 1997 – bronze in slalom at Sestriere, Italy

Alpine skiing World Cup[edit]

  • 50 victories (35 in slalom, 15 in giant slalom), including 7 consecutive slalom wins in the 1995 season.
  • 28-second-place finishes
  • 11 third-place finishes

World Cup results[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Season Age Overall Slalom Giant
Slalom
Super G Downhill Combined
1986 19 51 39 23 19
1987 20 15 24 9 18
1988 21 2 1 1 8
1989 22 3 2 7 7
1990 23 9 2 14
1991 24 2 6 1
1992 25 2 1 1 43
1993 26 5 2 2
1994 27 3 1 11
1995 28 1 1 1
1996 29 5 2 8
1997 30 25 5
1998 31 14 7 13

Season titles[edit]

  • 9 titles – (1 overall, 4 giant slalom, 4 slalom)
Season Discipline
1988 Giant Slalom
Slalom
1991 Giant Slalom
1992 Giant Slalom
Slalom
1994 Slalom
1995 Overall
Giant Slalom
Slalom

Race victories[edit]

  • 50 wins – (15 GS, 35 SL)
  • 88 podiums – (31 GS, 57 SL)
Season Date Location Race
1988 27 November 1987 Sestriere, Italy Slalom
29 November 1987 Giant Slalom
13 December 1987 Alta Badia, Italy Giant Slalom
16 December 1987 Madonna di Campiglio, Italy Slalom
20 December 1987 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Slalom
17 January 1988 Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria Slalom
19 January 1988 Saas Fee, Switzerland Giant Slalom
19 March 1988 Åre, Sweden Slalom
22 March 1988 Oppdal, Norway Slalom
1989 11 December 1988 Madonna di Campiglio, Italy Slalom
1990 29 November 1989 Waterville Valley, US Slalom
8 March 1990 Geilo, Norway Slalom
12 March 1990 Sälen, Sweden Slalom
1991 11 December 1990 Sestriere, Italy Slalom
16 December 1990 Alta Badia, Italy Giant Slalom
21 December 1990 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Giant Slalom
1 March 1991 Lillehammer, Norway Giant Slalom
9 March 1991 Aspen, USA Giant Slalom
21 March 1991 Waterville Valley, USA Giant Slalom
1992 23 November 1991 Park City, USA Giant Slalom
24 November 1991 Slalom
10 December 1991 Sestriere, Italy Slalom
15 December 1991 Alta Badia, Italy Giant Slalom
5 January 1992 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Slalom
19 January 1992 Kitzbühel, Austria Slalom
26 January 1992 Wengen, Switzerland Slalom
20 March 1992 Crans-Montana, Switzerland Giant Slalom
22 March 1992 Slalom
1993 9 January 1993 Garmisch, Germany Slalom
1994 5 December 1993 Stoneham, Canada Slalom
14 December 1993 Sestriere, Italy Slalom
30 January 1994 Chamonix, France Slalom
6 February 1994 Garmisch, Germany Slalom
1995 4 December 1994 Tignes, France Slalom
12 December 1994 Sestriere, Italy Slalom
20 December 1994 Lech am Arlberg, Austria Slalom
21 December 1994 Slalom
22 December 1994 Alta Badia, Italy Giant Slalom
6 January 1995 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Giant Slalom
8 January 1995 Garmisch, Germany Slalom
15 January 1995 Kitzbühel, Austria Slalom
22 January 1995 Wengen, Switzerland Slalom
4 February 1995 Adelboden, Switzerland Giant Slalom
18 March 1995 Bormio, Italy Giant Slalom
1996 19 December 1995 Madonna di Campiglio, Italy Slalom
22 December 1995 Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Slalom
7 January 1996 Flachau, Austria Slalom
1997 30 January 1997 Schladming, Austria Slalom
1998 8 January 1998 Schladming, Austria Slalom
15 March 1998 Crans-Montana, Switzerland Slalom

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Winter Olympics
Preceded by
Maurilio De Zolt
Flag bearer for Italy
1992 Albertville
Succeeded by
Deborah Compagnoni