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Hugo Bonatti

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Script error: No such module "AfC submission catcheck". Hugo Bonatti (born May 17, 1962) is an Austrian former World Cup freestyle ski racer. He not only did somersaults, screws, helicopters and the like, Hugo Bonatti succeeded in what is no longer considered possible in competitive sports. In parallel to his career as a top athlete and even medalist, he completed a medical degree. After receiving further training at the University Clinic in Innsbruck, Dr. Hugo Bonatti is a surgeon in the USA. The minimally invasive/robotic general, transplant, trauma, and bariatric surgery specialist made it to the world-famous Mayo clinics.

It was in 1976 when a handful of young people from Kitzbühel saw the Fuzzy Garhammer ski show consisting of jumps of all kinds and a snow ballet on television. The broadcast did not fail to have an impact. In the following winter, the “foolish boys”, as they were jovially called, built a ski jump on the Bichlalm. In addition to Hugo Bonatti, the pioneers included his brothers Hannes and Roman, the later very successful Thomas Überall, Bertram and Reinhard Prinz as well as Andreas, Martin Gröbner, and Heinz Müller, who became the organizing team leader. A year later, the first Tyrolean championship took place in Fügen. “We were there as a Kitzbühel team, my brother Hannes won the ballet competition, I won the combination,” recalls Hugo Bonatti. In the same year, the Austrian Freestyle Championship was held in Kitzbühel. “The ballet was played on the Pulverturmwiese, the mogul slope skiing on the Maierl slope, the jumping next to the Waldelift,” says Bonatti. The results have not been handed down.

The people from Kitzbühel, who had previously trained at their own discretion, received their first professional instruction at a training camp organized by Heinz Müller in Schnalstal. In general, the father of the Prinz brothers, Norbert (a former high diver), and gymnastics teacher Werner Nessizius played a major role in the sporting development. While Thomas Überall determinedly pursued the sport, Bonatti restricted himself because of the upcoming high school diploma and the following medical studies including a change of residence to Innsbruck. “I took a break from 1980 to 1983 because of my studies. During this time I only took part in national competitions and ski shows, ”he says. It really started when Bonatti had received his doctorate and was working as an assistant doctor at the University Clinic in Innsbruck. From 1985 Bonatti was a member of the Austrian national team - starting for the Innsbruck Turnerschaft, on the one hand because he lived in Innsbruck and on the other hand because there was no freestyle section at the Kitzbühel Ski Club.

Of the Kitzbühel clique, only Thomas Überall and Hugo Bonatti remained at the competition level. In his first appearance at a world championship in early February 1986 in Tignes (France), Bonatti landed ninth in the combination. In the following years he was regularly in the top ten. He made people sit up and take notice in 1989 at the World Championships in Oberjoch (Germany) with sixth place. The first podium in the World Cup he recorded in March 1990 in La Clusaz (France) in the combination.

In the meantime, in 1988, friend and training colleague Thomas Überall had ended his career. Today he works as a manager at Red Bull.

One of the sporting highlights of Bonatti's career, in addition to winning the bronze medal at the world championship on March 11, 1993 in Altenmarkt / Zauchensee, was taking part in the Winter Olympics in Albertville (France) a year earlier. "Freestyle was on the program as a demonstration competition, I was able to achieve sixth place in jumping and 13th place in ballet," remembers Bonatti, "the flair of the Olympic Games and the great interest of 25,000 spectators at the competitions remain an unforgettable Experience. ”An experience that he was not allowed to enjoy again: Incomprehensibly, Bonatti was not nominated for the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer. "Probably the biggest low point in my career."

The dual burden of sport and work showed its effect, not least because of his advanced age - Bonatti was now 32 years old - he turned to his calling as a doctor. On January 23, 1994, he stepped down from the international stage after a World Cup competition in Lake Placid, in which he could not land in the front field.

It was during a water jump and trampoline show in Seefeld in the late 1980s that Hugo Bonatti noticed an inconspicuous young man's talent for movement. Bonatti was able to win him over to the freestyle scene - the Nobody became a top athlete whose name is well known: Christian Rijavec.

The life path led the transplant surgeon, who specializes in kidneys, liver and pancreases, to Jacksonville (Florida), Charlottesville (Virginia), Nashville (Tennessee), Easton (Maryland), and then finally to Hagerstown (Maryland) where he resides with his lovely wife, Janani Bonatti and his daughter Bianca. His love for Kitzbühel is unbroken, several times a year the Bonatti flies across the pond and visits his homeland.

Life Path: Hugo Bonatti was born on May 17, 1962 in St. Johann, Austria. After elementary school, after a year of Borromäum in Salzburg, he attended the Bundesrealgymnasium in St. Johann. He then studied medicine in Innsbruck. In 1986 he became an assistant doctor at the University Clinic in Innsbruck, for three years he worked half the year in the hospital and the other half of the year he pursued his sport. In 1995 he completed his training as a specialist in surgery at the Innsbruck University Clinic. After a guest performance at Kings College Hospital in London (focus on liver transplants), he returned to the clinic in Innsbruck for a year. In 1998 he moved to the St. Johann district hospital for a year, then returned to the clinic in Innsbruck. In 2002 he followed the call to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida (USA). The Tyrolean capital never let go of Bonatti: From 2003 to 2005 he worked at the clinic as a transplant and general surgeon. In 2005 the Mayo Clinic attracted a research contract. In the fall of 2006, the Kitzbühel resident moved to the USA again to work as an intensive care physician at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In the summer of 2010 he moved to Nashville (Tennessee, USA) to complete the US surgeon training. Dr. Hugo Bonatti married Janani Karunaratne (now Janani Bonatti) in early 2016. The couple also has a daughter, Bianca Bonatti born in December 2016. They reside in Hagerstown, Maryland currently. He also has 2 sons from his previous marriage.


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