Style and Supremacy: Alberto Tomba’s Binomial
Skiing: The Italian Champion’s Career
December 19th 1966 – not too far from Bologna – was born one of the truest-greatest skiers in the history of the world. Alberto Tomba began to ski in the garden of Castel dè Britti while challenging his brother Marco. But to truly set the wheels in motion – the perfect setting – for his fantastic future career will be Cortina d’Ampezzo (the Dolomiti’s queen).
Ex azzuro Roberto Siorpas challenged himself into motivating the young protégée to pursue his destiny – under his wing the exuberant young Alberto showed off his unborn talent very early on and Alberto Marchi (his first sponsor), a.k.a. “Paletta” didn’t sound too blasphemous judging him as the “messiah” of ski!
His mentor was far from wrong in excluding the young pupil’s predominance as being a fluke and general skepticism aside Alberto was inserted in the Juvenile National Team. It all began from “Sci Cai Modena” for the young Tomba and come spring of ’84 Alberto collected a series of victories earning him the precocious spot in the first team.
He was second in the historic Italian triplet of the Val Badia’s giant slalom (December 1986) preceded by Pramotton and after the bronze medal of Cranz Montana, just two months later, his champion’s debut was just behind the corner.
It was 1987 – in the slalom of Sestriere Alberto Tomba blessed his success – bringing journalists from all over the world to cover his stunning encore from the following day, lifting his right arm at the last bank(whilst approaching a curve) as to say “it is my turn now”. He brought his arms in the air again – before the end of the course in Val Badia and did so in following performances as well, causing delirium in a sport where the word was never even used before. Journalists and fans couldn’t wait to see him triumph and then try to approach the new star. He won 9 Cup competitions in the same season and two gold medals in the Canadian Olympics of Calgary.
Due to a tough and incompatible character, Alberto’s need for peace and quiet let him to joining Gustavo Thoeni’s personal team where he had the chance to work out and practice like he intended. Sponsors fancied him and IGM of Mc Cormack was able to snatch from Paletta’s hand the popular champion, without of course leaving behind a series of polemical news reports between the two.
Every star goes through rough times, and Tomba “La bomba” wasn’t perfect and although he had a difficult career he was able to emerge up with original adventures and of course new triumphs. At the 1992 Olympics of Albertville he placed 2nd in the slalom podium leaving behind the immense Girardelli, but the following Olympics of Lillehammer saw Tomba as the leader. Unfortunately for some strange reason Alberto Tomba had always bunked the World Championships. He was never a superG kind of skier, other than at the early stage of his career, but with his 11 victories Alberto conquered the absolute World Cup in 1995. Apotheosis – the only word to describe the awarding of the crystal sphere to the champion.
In the 1996 Sierra Nevada World Cup he’s the slalom winner as well as the giant. The fiftieth victory in the World Cup came in 1998 during the Crans Montana slalom, where his brave decision to accept the challenge resulted to be gutsy as he refused high Lira contracts as well as facing the dooming chance of a loss which would have sank his image along with his skies.
Alberto Tomba did not only live of successful blinks before his retirement, but his character and his great talent in this sport contributed in allegedly letting him become the “messiah of ski”.
By Alfredo Iannaccone