A three-time Olympic gold medallist and FIS World Cup winner, Dario Cologna is regarded as Switzerland’s greatest ever cross-country skier.
Brought up in Santa Maria Val Müstair, situated in eastern Graubünden (SUI), Dario Cologna showed an aptitude for sport early on, but settled on cross-country skiing when he was in his early teens.
By 20, he had won a bronze medal in the 10km classical at the 2006 FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Kranj (SLO) and made his FIS World Cup debut later that same year. After two seasons finding his bearings on the international stage, in the 2008-2009 season the young skier made Swiss sporting history by doing the FIS Tour de Ski and FIS World Cup ‘double’.
Victorious in Vancouver
In the autumn of 2009, while preparing for a new season, Cologna suffered a muscle tear in his right thigh that sidelined him for six weeks and forced him to concentrate exclusively on the Vancouver Games. On 15 February 2010, he triumphed in the 15km freestyle at Whistler Olympic Park, finishing ahead of Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA) and Lukas Bauer (CZE) to become Switzerland’s first ever Olympic cross-country skiing champion.
On top of the world
Cologna subsequently topped the overall World Cup standings at the end of the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, amassing a record points total of 2,216 during the latter campaign. Having scaled the heights of the global rankings and claimed two further Tour de Ski wins, he was named ‘Swiss Athlete of the Year’ in 2012. The following year, on 23 February 2013 in Val Di Fiemme (ITA), the cross-country specialist bagged his first FIS Nordic World Ski Championship title in the 30km skiathlon.
Overcoming the odds
Just like in 2009, Cologna was dealt a huge blow in November 2013 when he hurt his right ankle while out on his daily run. Again forced to miss the start of the World Cup season, he arrived at the Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre with very little competitive action under his belt. Despite this, a late burst of pace saw the talented Swiss collect gold in the skiathlon, ahead of Marcus Hellner (SWE) and Johnsrud Sundby (NOR). Five days later, he picked up a second gold medal in the 15km classical, leaving Johan Olsson (SWE) trailing in his wake.
New challenges await
After undergoing ankle surgery at the end of the 2013-2014 campaign, Cologna has his sights set on the 2015 World Championships in Falun (SWE) and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang (KOR).