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On the outskirts of Cortina d’Ampezzo there is a small, super tidy metalworking shop that is home to one of Italy’s

greatest bobsleigh connoisseurs: Diego Menardi. Gentle, cunning eyes introduce a face marked by experience, travel and the cold. Hands marked by years, work and dirty with experience. He has lived with bobsleigh since the age of 16 and embodies the passion of an area that has fallen in love with this magnificent sport since the early 20th century. Dry in his expressions, polite in his gestures, Diego welcomed us, explained and told us about Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Queen of the Dolomites.

How old are you? 61
And how many years have you been building bobsleighs?

Well, practically forever. I started in 1976 in a bobsleigh factory here in Cortina. I was 16 years old and I haven’t stopped since.
How many bobsleighs have you built in your career?

I can count the ones I built when I started working for the teams: since 1985 I have built over 50.

How long does it take to build a bobsleigh?
It’s hard to say exactly because there are many different professionals working together under the guidance of one person. A 1-man bobsleigh designed for the athlete’s training requires more or less 45 days of work, whereas the more you move towards means to be used in international competitions, the more the days increase.

Why this passion?
First of all, it has to be said that the bobsleigh has always been an institution in Cortina and for the people of Cortina and many have been inspired by it. Then I can’t deny that I didn’t have a great desire to study and when I stopped going to school I thought that the best place to go and work was in a factory where bobsleighs were made.

What was it like to dive down the Eugenio Monti track?
I wouldn’t know. Because of a motorbike accident, which scarred my life, I was never able to access the bobsleigher’s course and, ironically, I was never able to experience the sport from a competitive standpoint. However, I recovered as a mechanic.

Source: Website Milano Cortina

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