Paola Pezzo ( born January 8, 1969 in Boscochiesanuova ) is an Italian mountain bike rider in the discipline of Cross Country. With two Olympic victories and world titles, it is one of the most successful riders ever. Until today it is the only one who was both Olympic champion and world champion and overall winner of the World Cup.
Pezzo was first cross-country skier, but had little success in this sport and in 1989 moved to the mountain. From 1989, she was professional and drove for the team Bianchi. In 1992, she joined the team of Gary Fisher. Quite surprisingly won Pezzo the gold medal at the World Championships in 1993 in Métabief. However, this success she confirmed as the winner of the European Championships in 1994 and 1996.
At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the Cross-country was the first time to the program. Although they fell at the beginning of the race and the knee had grazed, she managed to catch up to the top. You could leave the other half of the race from riders behind him and finally realized by far her first Olympic victory. Similarly successful she was in the following year: in addition to winning the gold medal at the 1997 World Championships in Château d'Oex she also managed the overall victory in the World Cup.
In Åre Pezzo took at the 1999 World Championships bronze medals in the individual race and in the season it came up a third European title. At the World Championships in 2000 in the Sierra Nevada, she was again third parties. Before the race at the Summer Olympic Games in 2000 it was regarded as the favorite. Although she was involved in the final round in a collision with the previously leading Spaniard Margarita Fullana, but was allowed to settle and then celebrate the second Olympic victory.
Because of the birth of her first son, she remained from 2001 to 2004 the racing away. She participated in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens in part, but had to abandon the race. 2006/ 07 they took a break and gave another baby in May 2008 a second comeback.
1999 Pezzo was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, 2000 she received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. At a height of 178 cm her competition weight was 62 kg. During her career she won a total of 38 races.
Paola Pezzo was honored with induction into the Hall of Fame of the European Cycling Union Union Européenne de Cyclisme.