Happy birthday champion! The 80th birthday of Franco Nones. To say “Franco Nones” is to say the name of one of the greatest champions of Italian sport. An all-round champion, in sport and in life. Franco is now 80 years old, and I wish him all the best, as do all my family and the Aurora Vision team. Yes, because anyone who meets Franco will never forget him. He instils strength and courage, lucidity and tenacity in those in front of him.
The sporting career
Franco Nones was born in Castello di Fiemme and started cycling at a very young age. It is said that he used to chase the running train for training. He then switched to cross-country skiing and in 1960 won his first Italian championship in the relay race. It was the first of 16 national titles. He took part in the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics, where he finished 10th in the 15 km race. In 1966, he won a bronze medal at the World Championships and won several classic races. He arrived at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics well-trained and reported as one of the best athletes in the world.
He has joined the Fiamme Gialle, the sports group of the Italian Guardia di Finanza, and is very proud of it.
Victory at the Olympics
Franco recounts the emotions of that day: ‘It was 7 February 1968. It was a beautiful day. The temperature was perfect. It was almost impossible to get the wax wrong… I was a bit worried about the bib number extraction. So he prepares to set off on the adventure of a lifetime
“With the radios they were telling me my time 5 km later. There wasn’t a moment’s respite. I had to keep running, even though they always told me I was in the lead. At the 10th kilometre I passed with half a minute to spare…”.
Cross-country skiing is a very tough sport, difficult to understand for those who don’t practice it. In addition to physical fitness and training, it takes a lot of intelligence: “At the 20th kilometre I was only four seconds ahead of the Finnish Mäntyrantha. At that moment I was convinced that everything was going well, that I was going fast and that Mäntyrantha would have to give up sooner or later. That’s what happened…”
This is how Franco Nones won the Gold Medal at the Grenoble Olympics. He was the first non-Scandinavian athlete to win the coveted prize. His name was on the front page of every newspaper, from Sweden to Norway, France, Italy and Russia. Everyone applauds the ‘little Italian’ who has become a sports legend. His determination led him to become a myth for all the young people of the time, and not only.
Life in the family. Happy birthday champion! The 80th birthday of Franco Nones
Shortly before the Olympics, Franco, being a good Italian, impresses a young Swedish woman working in the training centre in Sweden, Inger. The story of their first meeting is very intense and romantic, in the snow and on skis. They soon get married and start a big family, also marked by a lot of pain. Franco and Inger, together, became the reference point for many people who saw in them a fixed point, the rock.
hey come into contact with Don Divo Barsotti’s community and are also in the front line in faith, a driving force for many others.
The film “The Golden Trail” and the 80th birthday of Franco Nones
I met Franco personally for the making of the documentary film about his life “The Golden Trail” (directed by Lia and Alberto Beltrami). The idea came from our daughter Anna Chiara who, at a time of great difficulty in her life, had taken courage when she heard the stories of Franco Nones’ epic. So, working on the documentary, a strong bond was born.
Franco put himself on the line in front of the camera, overcoming an initial reticence. Then he went on like a champion, like everything else he has done in life, from sport to family and business.
The story unfolds in the memoirs of Franco Nones himself, his wife Inger, and with contributions from friends and collaborators such as Umberto Macor, first coach of the Fiamme Gialle, journalist Giorgio Brusadelli, Father Serafino Tognetti, Roberto Campaci, Pietro De Godenz and Cristian Zorzi.
“The Golden Trail” has toured the world in festivals, winning very prestigious awards such as the Best Olympic Values Côte d’Azur Sport Film Festival FICTS, the “Mention d’Honneur” Sports Movies And Tv in Milan, the Award for Life International Festival of Outdoor Film in Prague.
Happy 80th birthday Franco!