Ski legends Stenmark and Tomba meet in Madonna di Campiglio

They arrived just a few days ago, without fanfares or announcements, just mixing in the bunch of visitors who chose Madonna di Campiglioand the Dolomites to spend their Carnival week. Ingemar Stenmark and Alberto Tomba are two legends of different eras, but for both Campiglio and the Canalone Miramonti have represented very special places in their careers and lives.

First was Stenmark, who arrived on Saturday February 22nd to spend a week of vacation with his family, organized by a Scandinavian tour operator well established in the area, with the low profile that always characterized him even in his racing days – off the slope, of course. It was not just any trip for “Ingo”: after his retirement from competitions, Stenmark had never returned to Italy, and to the venue where he won more than anywhere else (8 times, five in slalom and three in giant slalom), and where he achieved his very first World Cup victory on December 17th, 1974.

As he reached Campiglio, Ingemar Stenmark was welcomed at the Hotel Savoia by Tullio Serafini (President of the Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena Tourist Board), Lorenzo Conci (3Tre Committee President), Albert Ballardini (Vice-Mayor of Pinzolo) and Bruno Felicetti (Vice-Director of Funivie Campiglio). Stenmark was presented with a canvas print of his very first World Cup podium by “Archivio Bisti”, portraying him along with Paolo De Chiesa and Fausto Radici in 1974.

Ingemar Stenmark’s return on “his” Canalone Miramonti slope, joined by 3Tre President Lorenzo Conci, was arguably one of the most emotional moments of his stay. He found the slope quite changed from his time: “Steeper, wider, and with a more extensive parterre,” said the Swede. “It’s even too steep for me now, lucky it wasn’t so icy back in the days,” he added with a smile. Stenmark did not miss a chance to take a selfie at the starting gate, in front of his own picture from the racing days. When he reached the “ginocchio”, right before approaching the final steep section, the ski legend took a moment in solitude to remember and recall the old days back to his mind.

Ingemar Stenmark also praised the Skiarea Campiglio Dolomiti di Brenta, that he explored all the way from Pinzolo to Folgarida Marilleva, showing appreciation for the investments and improvements made over the years, both on the slopes and the cableways.

The meeting between the two champions happened at the Cascina Zeledria. There, Stenmark also received the Maglia Fulmine – the iconic jersey that the 3Tre Committee revived from its history to honor its winner from the past and the present. Tomba belongs in his same club, as does another 3Tre legend who turned 69 exactly on that day: it was certainly emotional for Gustav Thoeni to receive a special birthday wish on the phone by Alberto Tomba and Ingemar Stenmark, respectively his trainee and rival from memorable days.

Tomba also revealed his preference to wear blue and yellow when racing – like Stenmark did – as a lucky charm.

As a ski lover I have always followed them, they were the idols of my younger days. It was so emotional to meet these ski legends, being together in Madonna di Campiglio for the first time, and to enjoy some hours with them and enjoy their unexpected and perfect harmony while exchanging stories and memories from their days as racers. I was also impressed by the huge respect they showed to each other,” told Tullio Serafini, the President of Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena Tourist Board. “It was like meeting Pelè and Maradona together for a football lover.

I did not know Ingermar in person, and it was fantastic. I found Stenmark an incredibly kind person, whose simplicity almost clashes with the greatness he reached as a champion,” added 3Tre President Lorenzo Conci. “It was fascinating joining him on the slopes, as he rediscovered places he had seen for the last time over 30 years earlier, telling stories and memories. I hope he will rejoin us soon, hopefully for an edition of 3Tre.

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