Compagnoni, Deborah (1970—)

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Compagnoni, Deborah (1970—)

Italian skier. Name variations: dubbed "Tombagnoni" by the Italian press. Pronunciation: Kome-pah-NYO-nee. Born in Bormio, Sondrio, Italy, on June 4, 1970; coached by Tino Pietrogiovanna.

Won the gold medal in the giant slalom at the World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain (1996); took the World Cup giant slalom race in Cortina and became the first Italian woman to win a World Cup title (1996–97), finishing fourth overall; won the gold in the slalom and the giant slalom at the World Championships (1997).

After recuperating from two knee operations and stomach surgery in which 22 inches of her intestine had been removed, Deborah Compagnoni won the Olympic gold medal in the women's super giant slalom (known as the Super G) at Albertville in 1992. Until then, she had never finished higher than fourth in any World Cup event. One day later, she crashed into a gate in the giant slalom and skidded off the course, tearing a ligament in her left knee.

In 1994 in Lillehammer, she earned a gold medal in the giant slalom, one of only 24 of 47 starters who arrived at the finish. Compagnoni came into the Nagano Olympics in 1998 as reigning world champion. She took the silver in the slalom, placing second to Hilde Gerg of Germany, then won another gold medal in the giant slalom. "I stay calm. It's in my character," she said.