Franco Nones, started cross-country skiing at age 13. After a brief excursion into cycling, he enlisted in the Guardia di Finanza and devoted himself entirely to skiing. He had his début at the 1960 Italian Championships, winning a relay title. Another 15 Italian titles followed during his career for a total of six in the relay and ten in individual events between 1960-71. His international career started at the 1964 Winter Olympics. Prior to the implementation of the World Cup, he scored several victories and top placements in Scandinavia, including a third place in Lahti and a fourth place at Holmenkollen. At the 1966 World Championships Nones won a relay bronze medal and was sixth in the 30 km. Two years later, he won gold in the 30 km race at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble leading from start-to-finish, thus becoming the first Italian Olympic cross-country champion, and the first Olympic cross-country champion from other than a Scandinavian country or the Soviet Union. Nones developed cold- and exericse-induced asthma, and as a result planned to retire prior to the 1972 Winter Olympics. But due to public pressure, he gave in and went to Sapporo, where he took part in only one event with a poor result.
After retiring Nones continued to serve in the Guardia di Finanza with the rank of sergeant and coached local cross-country skiers. In 1970, he started a family business importing ski equipment, and a sport equipment line for cross-country skiing and cycling bears his name. With the death of skeleton racer Nino Bibbia in May 2013, Nones became the oldest living Italian Winter Olympics gold medalist.
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