Deborah Compagnoni

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 4
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
SexFemale
Full nameDeborah•Compagnoni (-Benetton)
Used nameDeborah•Compagnoni
Born4 June 1970 in Bormio, Sondrio (ITA)
Measurements165 cm / 62 kg
AffiliationsG.S. Forestale, Roma (ITA)
NOC Italy

Biography

Deborah Compagnoni was the first, and through 2010 remains the only, athlete to have won a gold medal in alpine skiing at three consecutive Winter Olympics. Despite two serious knee ligament injuries she was the most successful female Italian skier ever. She dominated international racing between 1994 and 1998, particularly in the giant slalom, winning every possible major international gold medal.

Compagnoni broke through internationally at 16, winning the downhill bronze medal at the 1986 World Junior Championships, while in the next year she won gold in the giant slalom and a second bronze in downhill. In 1988 she had her first major accident, breaking her right knee, followed by a severe intestinal blockage that put her life at risk. She also excelled in the World Cup where she won 16 races (13 in giant slalom, 2 in super-G, 1 in slalom) and one seasonal World Cup in the giant slalom in 1996-97, winning nine consecutive giant slaloms in the 1997-98 season. She had only four complete competitive seasons (1993, 1994, 1997 and 1998), because of her recurring injuries.

Compagnoni’s début at the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville in 1992 brought her the gold medal in super-G, but in the giant slalom the next day she suffered one of her serious knee ligament injuries. She became World Champion in giant slalom in 1996 and repeated her achievement in 1997, adding slalom gold. She was an eight times Italian Champion in three different disciplines (super-G, giant slalom, slalom) between 1989 and 1997.

At the 1994 Winter Olympics Compagnoni was the Italian flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony and at the Torino Opening Ceremony in 2006, she was the penultimate torch-bearer in the stadium. She also was awarded the Gold Medal of Athletic Merits. After retiring from competition she married Alessandro Benetton, chairman of the Benetton fashion group, with whom she had three children, two girls and a son. Prior to her marriage, Compagnoni had designed race suits and worked as a model. In 2003, after her cousin Barbara Compagnoni died at 21 from leukemia, she founded Skiing for Life, an association raising funds for the research and treatment of this disease. She is also active in anti-smoking campaigns and supports organizations working against the oppression of women.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1992 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) ITA Deborah Compagnoni
Super G, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
Giant Slalom, Women (Olympic) DNF
1994 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) ITA Deborah Compagnoni
Super G, Women (Olympic) 17
Giant Slalom, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
Slalom, Women (Olympic) 10
1998 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) ITA Deborah Compagnoni
Giant Slalom, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
Slalom, Women (Olympic) 2 Silver

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1994 Winter Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony ITA Deborah Compagnoni

Special Notes