Alberto Tomba was born in Bologna on 19th December 1966. As a child, he became involved in a number of different sports but went on to become one of the greatest champions in the history of Alpine skiing. During a career that lasted fourteen years, he 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. His agressive style led to his nickname: "Tomba la Bomba" ("Tomba the Bomb").
Alberto Tomba - Photo: A Twiki
Away from the ski slopes, and driving around Bologna in his red, open-topped Ferrari, Tomba's reputation as a playboy was equally impressive. The press loved to feature stories about his partying, and Tomba did not disappoint, although he now claims that much of it was fabricated. Once, appearing as a judge at the Miss Italy competition, he claimed the first prize himself when he left the event with the winner. During the 1994 Winter Olympics, it was suggested that his private life was interfering with his training. He replied: "I admit I used to have a wild time with three women until 5am. Now I am in training, it is five women until 3am..." He proved his critics wrong and went on to produce one of the best performances of his career.
Zagreb 2009 - Photo: Suradnik13
Tomba retired at the end of the 1998 season. He went out in style, winning a last World Cup slalom race at the Finals at Crans-Montana. Doing so, he achieved a record, still unbroken, as the only alpine male skier to have won at least one World Cup race per year for eleven consecutive seasons.
Alberto Tomba 1988, Paraquay postage stamp
He was honoured at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Turin, when he was asked to carry the Olympic Flame into the stadium.
Tomba is now involved in the Laureus World Sports Academy and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. "The Academy is an association of more than 40 great athletes whose mission is to spread the positive influence of sport. The Academy believes that sport can help young people learn respect, discipline and loyalty by keeping them away from drugs, crime and hate. Sport gives people the chance to shake hands with one another even if they are from a different country, colour or social class."