Flora Tabanelli takes Italy closer to history.

The Italian rider won the gold medal in the Women's Freeski Big Air at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gwangwon, confirming her country's lead at the top of the medals table with 10 gold medals just four days before this major global event in Korea.

After Flora Tabanelli's victory in the women's freeski big air final on Sunday, Italy is one step closer to be at the top of the medals table at the end of the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gwangwon, having finished outside the top ten in the first three editions of the event. 

30 gold medals still to be won, the 'Azzurra' is well ahead of Germany (seven), France (six) and China (four), but eight of its 10 Winter Youth Olympic titles have been come in alpine skiing, luge and biathlon, sports that have already been completed at Gangwon. 

Flora Tabanelli, born in Sestola, was looking for her second gold medal after winning the slopestyle modality a few days ago. The Italian was the best in the Freeski Big Air final with a total of 180 points from her two best runs out of three (first with 87.50 and second with 92.50, the best run of the final). Australia's Daysy Thomas was close behind with a total of 172.75 (91 and 81.75) and Germany's Mutiel Morh took the bronze medal with 166.00 (81 and 85). 

Tabanelli won the tenth gold medal for Italy, twice as many as in the other three editions of the Games. A great performance, which may have something to do with the money and the great work that the Mediterranean country has done to prepare everything, including the athletes and the young talents, for the Milano - Cortina d'Ampezzo 2026 Olympic Winter Games. 

A curious detail is that she was the Italian flag bearer in Gangwon, making her the second athlete from the Emilia-Romagna region to enjoy this privilege. Do you know who the first one was? None other than Alberto Tomba, an alpine skiing legend and one of the best athletes in Italian sport, a three-time Olympic champion and two-time world champion in slalom and giant slalom. 

Giorgia Collomb is one of the stars of Alpine skiing at Gwangwon 2024 with a gold medal in the giant slalom and a silver in the Alpine combined and a bronze in the slalom. Camilla Vanni secured gold in Alpine Skiing in the super-G and Italy won two biathlon events - the women's 6 km sprint with Carlotta Gautero, and the mixed relay with Mariotti, Gautero, Hannes Bacher and Michel Deval. 

Giorgia Collomb won three medals in Gangwon: a gold, a silver and a bronze. OIS
Giorgia Collomb won three medals in Gangwon: a gold, a silver and a bronze. OIS

But where Italy has won more gold medals is in the luge competition, with a total of four in a sport that has given the country three of the five titles it has won in the first three editions of these Olympics: Innsbruck 2012, Lillehammer 2016 and Lansanne 2020. 

Philipp Brunner and Manuel Weissensteiner clinched the gold medal in the men's doubles, Leon Haselrieder in the men's singles, Alexandra Oberholz and Katarina Kofler in the women's doubles and Oberstolz, Hadelrieder, Brunner and Weissensteiner in the team relay. 

These ten Winter Youth Olympic champions add to the list of five from the previous three editions: Florian Gruber and Simon Kainzwaldner in the luge doubles and Patrick Baumgartner and Alessandro Grande in the two-man bobsleigh at Innsbruck 2012, Felix Schwarz and Lukas Gufler in the luge doubles at Lillehammer 2016, Martina Trabucchi, Linda Zingerle, Nicolò Betemps and Marco Barale in the biathlon mixed relay, and Rocco Baldini in the ski mountaineering sprint at Lausanne 2020.