Manuela Di Centa

A curious report surfaced a while back that included some doping allegations around Juha Mieto and Manuela Di Centa. I can’t say that I’d ever heard any rumors about either skier in the past. As with every other post I’ve done on a skier accused of doping, this look at their results data isn’t meant to be an exercise in searching for evidence. Instead, it’s just an opportunity to go back and look at what they’ve done, so that we at least have a sense of how they actually performed.

Mieto, of course, mostly predates my complete data. Hopefully some day I’ll finish compiling the rest of the WC results back to the late 70’s (I’ve got around 60% of them at the moment). Even Di Centa’s career is only partially covered by my data. She did a handful of WC’s in her early 20’s, but her racing seemed to really pick up in 1988, and my data doesn’t really start until 1992. Regardless, here’s what we have:

1994 was the year she seemed to be really have “out of this world” results, relative to the field, and again to a lesser degree in 1996. Following that season, you can see her results tailed up significantly. Sandwiched in there is a seemingly “off” year in 1995. If we change our scales to finishing place, though, we see that that was an unusual season all around:

She only did five races that season, but three of them were top 5’s at the Thunder Bay World Champs. That was long enough ago that I can’t remember what was up with her that season. But she didn’t even race at the WC’s that December that were in Italy, and I don’t see her popping up in any other FIS races either. Seems like too short a window for her to have had a baby during the off-season (though you never know, women can be pretty amazing sometimes…). Or she could have been dealing with injury or illness.

And once again, this doesn’t really shed any light on doping accusations. It’s just an excuse to look at some results histories…

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One Response to “Manuela Di Centa”
  1. Adrian says:

    Di Centa was actually one of Dr Conconi/Ferrari’s guinea pigs.

    This is probably very late but I guess it’s relevant and might be an interesting read.

    Dr Conconi of Ferrera university was given 2mil € by the IOC to develop a test for EPO, expected to be the next abused drug in endurance sports. No test was ever developed, instead this was used to implement a doping program, primed to pioneer EPO. In 1993, Conconi picked 22 ‘amateur athletes’ to take part in an “EPO research project paid for by the IOC. However, these 22 amateurs weren’t amateurs at all and included 15 pro cyclists and 7 skiers. One of which was Di Centa.

    Eventually 14 skiers were investigated. The names are below:

    Albarello, Barco, Chiaffoi, Clos, Confortola, De Zolt, Di Centa, Fauner, Giulio, Polvaro, Pulie, Vanzetta, Venturini, Walder.

    Not sure of their success as I follow the cycling side more than skiing but interesting all the same, but it would be interesting to see how they got on. Italy certainly had significant Olympic success about that time. Here is the document I sourced the info from:, pg3-4.

    I think both cycling and skiing are most probably still filthy with drugs, although probably at higher ends of the sport. However, if you look at athletics, football and tennis, without even considering the NFL, NBA and MLB, it’s pretty much everywhere.

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