Alberto Tomba was born in a non-Alpine area of Italy, close to Bologna. He was a natural sportsman and, after considering a career in several sports, he settled on Alpine skiing. On the slopes, he soon became known for his aggressive, all action style, earning him his affectionate nickname “Tomba La Bomba”.
Tomba made a sensational Olympic debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, winning both the giant slalom and the slalom. Four years later at the 1992 Albertville Winter Games, he successfully defended his giant slalom title to become the first Alpine skier in Olympic history to win the same event twice. He also claimed silver in the slalom.
At the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games, Tomba missed a gate in the giant slalom. Four days later, in the slalom, he found himself in only 12th place after the first run. Throwing caution to the wind, he completed a tremendous second run that earned him another silver medal. This made him the first Alpine skier to win medals in three different Olympic Games.
At the peak of his career, Tomba was the dominant force in his chosen events. In 1995, he became overall World Cup Champion. He later became only the second male skier ever to win 50 World Cup races.