5 Jun 2024

Gros, Tomba and Razzoli: Gold slaloms at the Olympic Games

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WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 27: Giuliano Razzoli of Italy celebrates after the Men's Slalom second run on day 16 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler Creekside on February 27, 2010 in Whistler, Canada (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Three golds, three Italian champions who wrote the history of winter sports and have raised the bar for Milano Cortina 2026

Innsbruck 1976, Calgary 1988 and Vancouver 2010: three feats united by a blue team uniform gliding through the snow. Italy has won three Olympic gold medals in the slalom, the most technical discipline of Alpine skiing, with as many champions carving their names in history: Piero Gros, Alberto Tomba and Giuliano Razzoli.


Gros, the Gold newcomer

Our three intertwined stories begin with the Piedmontese masterpiece on the Austrian slopes. At the first Olympic Games of his career, Gros immediately climbed atop the podium, taking the gold ahead of his national teammate Gustav Thoeni, who took home the silver just as he had done four years earlier in Sapporo 1972 (where his cousin Roland Thoeni had won the bronze).

A glorious debut for 21-year-old Gros on Valentine’s Day (14 February 1976), after a sleepless night caused by his exit in the second run of the giant slalom a few days earlier. The crowning moment of a career, which had already seen him win a World Cup in the winter of 1973/74, aged just 19. Predestined, some might say.


Tomba, who stopped Sanremo Festival

Twenty-two years later, it was Tomba la Bomba’s turn to bewitch the Italians, even bringing Sanremo Festival to a halt: 27 February 1988 is a date engraved in the history of Italian sport. Already triumphant two days earlier in the giant slalom, the Bologna star finished third after the first run of the slalom. 

For the second, terrestrial television channel Raiuno decided to stream live from the Teatro Ariston stage at Sanremo, opening a link from Canada to watch the golden comeback. Six hundredths of a second were enough for Tomba to achieve Olympian glory for the second time, setting off the Sanremo audience and all the viewers glued to the screen. Two highs in only a few days, for a five-ring result later embellished by the giant slalom gold and slalom silver in Albertville 1992 and the slalom silver in Lillehammer 1994.


Razzoli and the only flash of gold in Vancouver

We had to wait for another 27 February to see an Italian triumph in the most technical discipline of Alpine skiing again; another athlete from Emilia-Romagna, this time in a Canadian location. Down the Whistler slope, it was Giuliano Razzoli who gave Italy the only gold medal of the entire Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, on the second last day of the competition. A gold that still excites today, in the wake of legend Tomba, a fellow countryman and mentor, to keep the Italian tradition in the discipline alive twenty-two years later. Razzoli ended his long career at the end of this winter, but his gold will continue to have a place in everyone’s heart. In addition to two World Cup victories (for a total of 10 podiums), Razzo, a nickname meaning “rocket”, again came close to the Olympic podium in Beijing 2022, missing by 26 hundredths. A near miss that still hurts, but once again teaches how difficult it is even for Olympic champions to compete for a spot on the podium.

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