Twenty-five years after Alberto Tomba, another Italian champion has been elected "Skieur d'Or AIJS" by the members of the International Association of the Ski Journalists following the 2019/2020 season - Federica Brignone, the first Italian woman to clinch the overall World Cup standings after a tremendous season.
With 16 World Cup wins and 44 podiums in four specialties in her career to date, plus medals at Olympics and World Championships in 2018 and 2011, "Fede" is ranked among the most successful Italian athletes on the Alpine circuit. Last winter she celebrated five wins and a total of eleven podiums which allowed her to also clinch the globes in giant slalom and the big Globe for the Overall.
It's the 20th time since the creation of the award back in 1963 that a woman won the award. Among this very exclusive list of "Ski Greats" are ski legends like Goitschel sisters in1964 and Canada's Tiger Nancy in 1968 and including Mikaela Shiffrin in 2017 and 2019. Of course, top champions such as Annemarie Moser-Proell Rosi Mittermaier, Lindsey Vonn or Janica Kostelic also belong to this prestigious group.
Interestingly, Brignone is also the first member of the Italian "Squadra Rosa" to be named "Skieur d'Or AIJS" in its history, a fully deserved reward for the accomplished champion who is also an excellent communicator with the international media thanks to her language skills, she speaks excellent Italian, German, English and French.
Only 17 when she made her debut in December 2007 at the World Cup race at Lienz, Brignone had to fight hard and overcome difficult moments including a foot injury in 2012 before finally enjoying her maiden World Cup win at Soelden in October 2015.
Supported by her brother Davide for several years, also a promising racer prior suffering several injuries, Federica was inspired by the successful career of her mom, Maria Rosa Quario, one of the best slalom specialists on the World Cup tour in the early 1980s with her 4 victories and 15 podium finishes. Quario is now an established and respected ski journalist on the "White Circus".
Because of the complicated sanitary situation that the World Cup tour has been facing for over a year now, Federica could not receive her AIJS Trophy at Soelden like many of the previous recipients during the FIS Alpine Forum.
Hopefully she will have the chance to receive the beautiful AIJS Trophy in crystal provided by Joska on behalf of FIS in a few months time at the next Forum Alpinum together with the winner from the present season, 2020/21.