Sergio Zardini, a former champion

My dad, Sergio Zardini

My father Sergio was born in Cortina d’Ampezzo (Belluno, Veneto, Italy) in 1931 and grows in the period of development and growth of this country that reaches its peak with the 1956 Winter Olympics.

In this magical period, while working in the family atmosphere at Hotel Cristallo, he succeeds in cultivating and developing his passion for sport, which will lead him to become a tennis instructor, ski instructor, to play some hockey games and even to try In curling, becoming also an Italian champion.

Sport, however, that will condition good and bad his life is the bob, a discipline that begins a bit late in his life but in which he soon reveals his talent by affirming himself in the world.

He will win a world championship in 1963 and the silver medal at the 1964 Olympics.

The combination of his sports and work commitments leads him to accept his and his family’s transfer to Canada, where he is called to lead an important tourist center in Avila, near Montreal.

They were very different times from today, thinking that while competing globally they were all amateur sportsmen. From their stories I knew that my father’s braker was the baker and the workouts that were held in the evening (the ice was natural), he came still with his apron, put on his windbreaker, made two runs and came back Of running to work.

Sergio Zardini at the Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 1964, with the silver medal of bob at 2 in the neck

So in 1963, with my sister and my mother Dolores, we go to America where we move to Montreal in an Italian neighborhood. The change of life is remarkable, I have been impressed with some memories including the kitchen, which was already very big in those years (unlike Italian kitchens) and in which my sister and I were often hiding for play, so that in one Occasion my sister hid so well in a pantry behind the pots that my mom had to call the police.

Another memory I remember in my memory was the cars that were enormous and already at that time had electric windows.

Our life therefore took place in the city during the summer and in Avila in winter, where we went skiing and sledging and the snow descended so copious that it often covered almost the door of the lodge where we lived, forcing dad to call someone to To clear the snow mass that blocked us out of the way.

During this time Dad continued to work and run until he was awarded the Diamond Trophy, the most prestigious US bob race in Lake Placid, and became one of the most popular and appreciated Italian sportsmen in the whole of Canada to receive a letter Congratulations to the Canadian Prime Minister and to be crowned “King of Winter,” along with a famous skater, Carolyn Press.

This sport so much loved it took him away too soon. Just in Lake Placid, in February 1966, an accident breaks its marvelous life at 35, leaving the two children of 4 and 3 years old and a young wife.

With my sister and mother, we returned to Italy to gather around our family and try to continue our lives.

But this is another story …

Alessandro Zardini


(From the newspaper of the Gruppo Alpini di Salce, “Col Maòr” no. 1/2015)


One comment

  1. Alessandro …. I was 8 years old …. Had just ridden to the top of the run on the truck carrying the sleds … saw my father getting ready to go on his run talking to the Canadian guys … he called me over and introduced me to “Mr.Zardini … he won a medal in the Olympics ” … I stood and talked for a bit …then dad was off on his run your dad was next he left and I was off down the hill …. I found my mom and sister at the bottom…. asked where dad was …He was helping … I didn’t find out what happened till dad got home and I have never forgot it ………………. (Alessandro Zardini can have my email directly )

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