Joël Retornaz was born in Genève, Switzerland, and is an Italian curler from Cembra. He was in 2006 the skip of the Italian men’s Olympic curling team.
Retornaz gained sudden fame in Italy in occasion of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Despite the fact Italy has no curling tradition, and that the sport is practiced only by some hundred of amateurs, Retornaz led the semi-professional Italian team to a number of unexpected victories against strong national teams like that of Canada. This breakthrough inspired a sudden national curiosity for curling, a previously almost unknown sport for Italians.