Alberto Braglia taught himself gymnastics, exercising in the family’s barn and joined the local gymnastics club at age 12. He debuted at the 1906 Olympics, taking the silver in both all-around competitions. He improved himself to win the gold in London. Following this triumph, Braglia suffered from various problems. After performing in public, he was declared a professional by the Italian federation, and he broke his shoulder during one of these exhibitions. Also, his 4-year-old son died, leaving Braglia with a nervous breakdown. But he managed to regain his amateur status, and prepared himself for the 1912 Olympics. There, he retained his all-around title, while also leading the Italian team to victory. He then ended his career - in which he had remarkably only won one World Championship medal (bronze in the 1909 team competition). In 1932, he returned to gymnastics, as the trainer of the Italian team at the Los Angeles Olympics. To support himself, Braglia worked as an acrobat, and he performed in many circuses. Although his performances left him moderately wealthy, Braglia spent the money on a bar and a farm back in Modena, and died in poverty, of thrombosis, in 1954.