BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO SKI RACING

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Open Season: Alberto Maximus

ALBERTO MAXIMUS

Before realizing he'd have to

qualify

to race in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, 38-year-old Italian Alberto Tomba-the second-most successful man in World Cup history-threatened a comeback. "Experts tell me that in slalom, with my style, I would be in the top five," he announced at a press conference. "With the shorter skis...it is not that difficult." Brash? Yes, but if you were a ladies' man named Alberto, wouldn't you be?

September 2005