1968: the snow of Grenoble turns gold for the first time for a non-Scandinavian cross-country skier. And Franco Nones becomes a winter sports legend.
Born in Val di Fiemme in Italy in 1941, Nones started out as a cyclist, then dedicated himself to cross-country skiing. He enrolled in the Fiamme Gialle and demonstrated the stuff of champions from the very beginning. His sporting career grew: he won the first Italian championship in the relay in 1960, and 15 national titles followed. Then came victories and excellent placings in all the most important classics in Scandinavia. Nones p articipated in the Innsbruck Olympics in 1964 with a 5th place in the relay and 10th in the 15 km. In 1966 in Oslo, he won bronze in the relay.
Confident of his tenacity, in 1968 he went to the Grenoble Olympics. Nobody bet on an Italian; all eyes were on the Nordics. But his commitment, determination, and tenacity are rewarded. He crosses the finish line of the 30 km first and enters the history of cross-country skiing.
Meanwhile, thanks to his example, cross-country skiing becomes a popular winter sport in Italy, and the Val di Fiemme becomes one of the ideal places. The first tracks are promoted, and the first important races are born, such as the Marcialonga, which will become one of the most important in the world.
Franco is aware that he has started a much bigger adventure than his own story, but he maintains the humility characteristic of the greats. He married the Swedish Inger Berneholm and continued his commitment to the sport, creating the Topolino trophy in Val di Fiemme and collaborating for the development of cross-country skiing.
Franco Nones’ sport adventure is a reflection of the story of a whole life lived with courage in work and family and faith, a path that can help young people find meaning and inspiration.
The story develops in the memoirs of Franco Nones himself, his wife Inger, and with the contributions of friends and collaborators such as Umberto Macor, first coach of the Fiamme Gialle, the journalist Giorgio Brusadelli, Father Serafino Tognetti, Roberto Campaci, Pietro De Godenz and Cristian Zorzi.