Alberto Tomba

Alberto Tomba, born December 19, 1966, popularly called Tomba la Bomba ("Tomba the Bomb"), Alberto Tomba is a retired professional alpine skier of Italian nationality. He scored notable success in the late 1980s and 1990s in the slalom and giant slalom, winning three Olympic gold medals.

Early years Tomba la bomba was born to Marco and Maria Grazia Tomba in Castel de Britti, San Lazzaro di Savena, a hamlet not far from Bologna, in an area without mountaineer traditions. He started doing various sports like tennis, soccer, dirt biking, but his greatest passion revealed skiing. His professional career began in 1983, as only a 17 y.o., in Sweden with the Italian C2 Team.

In 1981 he took part to the Junior Ski World Championship, gaining a 4th place meaning a position in the B national team. In that same year, in a parallel slalom for a Holiday celebration on the hill of San Siro in Milan, he surprisingly beat all skiers on the A Team. After three wins in the Skiing European Cup, Tomba made his debut in the Ski World Cup in 1985 at Madonna di Campiglio. One year later, in re, Sweden, he surprised the skiing world by finishing 6th after starting at 62th. His first podiums were in Alta Badia, in the end of that year, and in the Crans Montana's World Championship of 1987, where he got a bronze medal in the Giant slalom.

Race to fame On November 27, 1987, Tomba scored his first major victory in the World Cup in the Slalom. 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 in the alpine skiing world.

In that season he won 9 races, but finished second in the final rankings to Swiss Pirmin Zurbriggen. Tomba attempted to race in the Supergiant slalom, finishing an encouraging 5th place. In his two favourite races, the Slalom and the Giant Slalom, Tomba showed a very aggressive style of skiing.

In 1988, at the Winter Olympics, Tomba won gold medals in both Slalom and Giant Slalom. In his first run in the Giant slalom, he finished 1.14 second ahead of second place, setting a record. He also earned some notoriety by to asking out East German figure skater Katarina Witt.

Tomba was not as successful in the following two seasons. In the 1989 World Championship in Vail, he could do no better than sixth place in the Super Giant Slalom and a dismaying seventh in the Giant Slalom.

In the 1990-91 World Cup Tomba returned to his winning ways, winning the Giant Slalom. However, he disappointed in the Slalom, as he could do no better than 4th place.

Tomba returned to his best in the 1991-92 season, with 9 victories, 4 second places and two third places. He duelled to the very end with Paul Accola for the World Cup, but the Swiss eventually won the title. In the 1992 Olympics of Albertville Tomba won another gold medal (his last one) in the Giant Slalom, beating Marc Girardelli, and a silver medal in the Slalom, thanks to a spectacular second run.

The World Championships again proved to be his nemesis in 1993, at Morioka, Japan. Tomba was suffering from a fever during the Giant Slalom and made a critical mistake in the Slalom, and failed to reach the podium in either race.

Confirmation as Olympic Champion and World Cup Tomba was back to his usual ways in the 1994 Olympics of Lillehammer. After the first run of the Slalom, he was 1.84s behind Thomas Stangassinger. But a stunning second run rocketed him in to second place, and silver medal.

In 1995, after a triumphant season with 11 victories, Tomba brought the Skiing World Cup back to Italy, twenty years after Gustav Thni's success (Tomba had won several World Cups in the years before, but only for single specialities). In the 1996 World Championship Tomba won two more gold medals, rallying from 0.81 seconds behind to win the Giant Slalom.

After the 1996 World Championships, Tomba began contemplating retirement. He decided to come back for one more World Championship at Sestriere (1997). He was disqualified in the Giant Slalom and had a disappointing first manche in the Slalom, but an excellecnt second manche was good enough for his last medal, a bronze, much to the enthusiasm of his countrymen.

The 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano was a sign that Tomba's career was winding to a close, as he failed to medal. Tomba retired following the season, but not before became the second alpine skier (along with Ingemar Stenmark) to have won at least a race per year in 10 years, with a victory in the Slalom.