Razzoli makes mentor Tomba proud

Associated Press / February 28, 2010

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WHISTLER, British Columbia - Giuliano Razzoli won the Olympic slalom yesterday to give Italy its first Alpine gold medal of the Vancouver Games.

Razzoli was the first-leg leader and had a combined two-run time of 1 minute 39.32 seconds to become the first Italian man to win an Alpine medal since his mentor, the flamboyant Alberto Tomba, took slalom silver at Lillehammer in 1994. Tomba won the slalom at Calgary in 1988, and was the last Italian man to win a gold, in the giant slalom at Albertville in 1992.

Tomba watched near the finish area and jumped up and down with both arms raised in triumph when his 25-year-old protégé crossed the line.

“Now I can understand how it is for the parents,’’ Tomba said after Razzoli came over to embrace him. “It’s more emotional. I think it’s better to be racing.’’

Razzoli said he knew how long Italy had waited for another gold medal.

“It’s incredible,’’ Razolli said. “It’s a long time. I’m happy for my country.’’

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was 0.16 behind Razzoli for his second silver medal here, after being runner-up to Bode Miller in the super combined a week ago.

Andre Myhrer of Sweden got bronze, 0.44 behind, for the first Alpine medal for Sweden’s men in 22 years. Defending champion Benjamin Raich was fourth, 0.05 off the podium.