Gabriella Paruzzi - Italian cross-country skier

Gabriella Paruzzi was born 21 June 1969 in the city of Udine found in northeastern Italy. She made fame being part of the cross-country ski team of the Italian Gruppo Sportivo Forestale (the sport section of the Italian State Forestry Corps) alongside such Italian cross-country skier stars as Stefania Belmondo and Manuela Di Centa.

She competed both on a national and international level as a professional cross-country skier for sixteen years, beginning at the 1991 FIS World Cup event in Falun, when she arrived 12th on the Women’s 15 km Freestyle event. Paruzzi kept on racing, and won several silver medals at relay events of both the Olympics and the World Cup. However, only after ten years of dedicated sportsmanship that she actually made her breakthrough with her first major individual title by winning the 30 km classic event at Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics.

This 2002 Olympics event was not uneventful for her either! During the race, one of her poles broke, as it often happens, and although she fell behind, her couch give her his own poles – which were too long! Paruzzi did not lose faith and kept on going. Her coach finally came back with a new set of poles in the size, and she managed to catch the pack and in the end winning her first gold with a 4.5 seconds lead.

Next season, Paruzzi successfully won the 2003-04 Womens Overall World Cup ahead of Marit Bjorgen and Valentina Shevchenko. Sponsored by Rossignol, she used Rossignol X-IUM skis and boots with Rottefella R3 NNN bindings for both classic and skate styles.

After winning her last medal, a bronze in the 2006 Torino Winter Games, she retired with 38 World Cup podiums (18 individuals, 20 teams) and 14 Italian Championships with 40 podiums in her career between 1990 and 2005.

In Tarvisio, Italy where she lives, a ski stadium was named in her honor.

Motto of Gabriella Paruzzi: Live each day as if it were the last.