Photos by: Dino Colli,
Diego Gaspari, Antonio Colli, Stefano Zardini, Luigi Alverà, archivio G.I.S.
Eugenio Monti La leggenda del "Rosso Volante"
In 1950, Eugenio Monti was thinking of skiing only. He could have become the heir of Zeno Colò. He adored downhill races and high speed, but he excelled in slalom as well.
At Muerren, in the Kandahar downhill event, Eugenio ended second behind Jean Couttet. In his Cortina, he won Italian slalom and giant slalom titles and earned a bronze in the downhill, behind Roberto and Alfonso Lacedelli. On that occasion, Eugenio Monti, was christened the "flying redhead", both for the colour of his hair and for his courage in racing and in life.
Eugenio was born on 28th January, 1928, in Dobbiaco. In the Fifties, at the age of 22, he was one of the promising skiers of the Italian team. Then, a tragic fall on the Banchetta, during a training session at Sestriere, where he broke the ligaments of his knee. The dreams of glory were going to vanish forever: Eugenio's skiing career was over.
Indeed, that very accident on the Banchetta marked the beginning of his career as the greatest pilot in the bobsleigh history. It is the great story of a man who embodied the very idea of speed down the bobtracks of the whole world for over three lustrums, of a man who patiently pursued victory through a long and careful labour and, at the age of forty, won two gold medals in the 1968 Winter Olympics of Grenoble. An epic, which will always be narrated; a story, that of the "flying redhead", which stands as a symbol in the history of the world sports..
In 1954, Eugenio Monti won his first Italian title in a 4-man event and started a racing career that might have been written by a novelist. In 1957, teaming with Alverà, he won his first world gold. In 1960, in Cortina, he became world champion both in the 2-man and in the 4-man events. Throughout his career he has conquered as many as nine world championships and six olympic medals: two silver medals won in his hometown in the 1956 Cortina Olympics, both in the 2-man (with Renzo Alverà) and in the 4-man. Two bronze medals in the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, in both specialities again (with Sergio Siorpaes in the 2-man). Finally the triumph, the masterpiece: 1968 Grenoble Olympics when he became one of the world heroes of all times with Jean Claude Killy. On the Alpe d'Huez bobtrack the "redhead" flew as far as the gold both in the 2-man event with Luciano de Paolis and in the 4-man, with same de Paolis, Mario Armano and his fellow villager Roberto Zandonella. He became commendatore of the Republic and then retired from competitions to work at his uphill facilities in Cortina.
He has always been used to flying, Monti. He has never been a man of half measures. He lived fighting. And winning.
Eugenio Monti left us on 1st December, 2003.
(Article taken from the F.I.S.I official website, by kind permission)
Olimpiadi di Cortina del 1956
Eugenio Monti a destra nella foto con il suo frenatore Sergio Siorpaes