Manuela Di Centa

Manuela Di Centa was born in Paluzza on 31 January 1963. She first represented Italy in 1980. She got married at 19 but separated a few years later. She finished eighth in his first world championships in Oslo 1982, aged 19. She swapped cross-country skiing for the downhill events after the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics in protest against autologous blood transfusions. In 1987 she wrote a letter to the president of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) Arrigo Gattai and returned to competitive action, producing a career-best performance at the Lillehammer games in 1994, where she won five medals including gold in the 15km pursuit and the 30km. She took part in five Olympics and six world championships, winning seven medals at each. She won two World Cups in 1994 and 1996 and 15 World Cup races, as well as 22 Italian titles. She retired after the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. She has worked for RAI televisiona and is an honorary member of CONI after representing athletes at the governing body until 2010. She has held a number of managerial positions in sport, was elected to parliament and has climbed Mount Everest.