Italian sports men and women have graced the world stage in recent times and have become well known for their exuberant performances. Perhaps the Italians are best well known on the football pitch yet many of their citizens have become world class competitors in other events. There is no greater example of a sportsman whose character has reflected the nation’s than Alberta Tomba. During the late 1980s and 1990 the Alpine ski slopes became a sea of Italian flags as “Tomba La Bomba” powered his way to slalom victories. The man who was born in San Lazzaro di Savena in 1966 did not have the build of the typical slalom skier. Tomba was a big man 6 foot tall and weighing 90kgs, and would power his way down the course often using the second run of the competition to come from behind to win in dramatic circumstances.
He won three Olympic gold medals, two world championships, and nine World Cup season titles. His legendary status was only intensified as stories emerged of his celebrations with his fans after each success materialized. Rugby Union plays second fiddle to football in Italy but the nation does have one player who would get in any side in the world, and that is the team’s captain Sergio Parisse. Born in Argentina in 1983 to Italian parents, Parisse started his career at Treviso before moving to France to play for Stade Francais. In his 126 game international career the Italian no 8 has regularly been the best player on the pitch despite Italy struggling in most matches. As well as captaining the national side on numerous occasions he is also the captain of Stade Francais. He has celebrity status in France having recently been divorced from the ex-Miss Europe Sylvain Marconnet and has appeared in numerous fashion magazines. Of all of Italy’s footballers no players has had a more distinguished club and international career than Paulo Maldini. Born in Milan in 1968, the son of former Italian Cesare Maldini represented AC Milan for 25 seasons until he retired at the age of 41. In his career he played 647 times for AC Milan winning the European Cup five times and the Serie A on seven occasions. He played for Italy 126 times playing in four World Cup tournaments and has the side’s 3rd highest appearances.
Buffon is the 4th most capped international footballer of all time and has played in five World Cup tournaments. He has captained Italy 79 times which is more than any other player and lifted the World Cup trophy in the 2006 triumph. He has been named in the UEFA team of the year on 5 occasions and is regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world. Frankie Dettori was born in Milan in 1970 and is a horse racing jockey based in the United Kingdom. In his career he has so far won over 500 group races and has been the champion Jockey on three occasions. Despite all of his big race wins he had failed to win “the Derby” in 15 attempts despite riding some of the best available horses. In 2007 he finally won the crown with his victory on the Peter Chapple-Hyam trained horse Authorized. One of Dettori’s most famous days occurred at Ascot in 1996 when he won all of the seven races that were run that day. Dettori’s stellar career came crashing to a halt in 2101 when he failed a drugs test and was banned from riding for 6 months. This resulted in him losing his job with the Godolphin Stable and he has since struggled to recapture the success he had previously achieved.