Eugenio Monti started out as a promising skier, nicknamed the Flying Redhead, before a knee injury in 1951 cut his career short. But the end of one career marked the start of another as Monti turned his attention to bobsleigh, with great success.
At the 1956 Cortina Winter Games, Eugenio Monti earned silver medals in both the two-man and the four-man bobsleigh events. In 1960, the bobsled event was omitted from the Olympic programme. But the event returned four years later in Innsbruck and Monti won two bronze medals. By 1968, Monti had won nine World Championships and four Olympic medals, but no Olympic golds.
At the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games, Monti also showed great sportsmanship. He helped his rivals Tony Nash and Robin Dixon win gold medals when he loaned them an axle bolt to replace one that had broken. The International Fair Play Committee rewarded Monti’s sportsmanship with the highest possible honour, the Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Trophy.
Aged 40, Monti knew that the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games would be his last chance to win an Olympic title. Fired up, he claimed gold medals in both the two-man and four-man events. It was a memorable way for him to cap a colourful Olympic career.