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COMPAGNONI Deborah
COMPAGNONI Deborah

Deborah COMPAGNONI

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Deborah Compagnoni became the first Alpine skier to win gold medals at three different Olympic Games, despite a career plagued by injuries

In the genes

Deborah Compagnoni was the daughter of a ski instructor, and it soon became apparent she had inherited her father’s genes. Aged 17, she claimed gold in the giant slalom at the 1987 World Junior Championships. A year later she suffered the first of many injuries that would plague her career.

Injury crisis

In 1988, Compagnoni broke her right knee in a downhill race. Just when she was ready to compete again, she had to undergo emergency surgery for a kidney infection. She went on to endure four operations on her knees and once, in 1990, almost died from an intestinal blockage.

Breakthrough season

Compagnoni’s long awaited senior breakthrough finally came in the 1991/92 season. She won her first World Cup race and became Olympic Super G champion in Albertville. However, as fate would have it, the very next day she fell in the giant slalom and damaged her cruciate ligaments.

Slalom joy

To preserve her fragile knees, Compagnoni concentrated on slalom and giant slalom events. Remaining injury free, she went on to win the giant slalom at both the 1994 and 1998 Olympic Games. This achievement made her the first Alpine skier to win gold medals at three different Olympic Games. She also earned a silver medal in the slalom, missing a fourth gold by only six-hundredths of a second.

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Gallery

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Giant Slalom

20 Feb 1998: Deborah Compagnoni of Italy wins the gold in the womens giant slalom at shiga kogen during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. \ Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport
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Nagano 1998-Alpine skiing-giant slalom W-COMPAGNONI Deborah (ITA) 1st.
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SKI ALPIN NAGANO 1998 SIEGEREHRUNG Slalom Frauen 190298

JAPAN - FEBRUARY 19: SKI ALPIN: NAGANO 1998 SIEGEREHRUNG Slalom Frauen 19.02.98, Deborah COMPAGNONI (ITA SILBER), Hilde GERG (GER GOLD), Zali STEGALL (AUS BRONZE) - JUBEL (Photo by Lutz Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)
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SKI ALPIN NAGANO 1998 190298

JAPAN - FEBRUARY 19: NAGANO 1998; Deborah COMPAGNONI/ITA - SILBER - SLALOM FRAUEN (Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images)
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Slalom

19 Feb 1998: Deborah Compagnoni wins the silver medal, Hilde Gerg of Germany wins the gold medal and Zali Steggall of Australia wins the bronze medal in the womens slalom at Shiga Kogen during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. \ Mandatory Credit: Gary M Prior/Allsport
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Womens Slalom

19 Feb 1998: Deborah Compagnoni of Italy placed second in the womens slalom at Shiga Kogen during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. \ Mandatory Credit: Zoom /Allsport
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