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Grenoble 1968

Killy had marked the Alpine skiing competitions by winning the downhill by a margin of 0.08 seconds over his fellow countryman Guy Périllat. He had won the giant slalom, which comprised two runs for the first time, 2.22 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Willy Favre and beat Austrian Herbert Huber by 0.09 seconds to win the slalom gold medal.

ANECDOTE

The foggy slalom of chamrousse

If it had not been the penultimate day of the Olympic Winter Games, the slalom might have been postponed. However, the event, which became known in the history books as the “Foggy slalom of Chamrousse”, went ahead despite the very poor visibility. Jean-Claude Killy (born 30 August 1943) had already won the downhill and giant slalom. The Frenchman was on the verge of completing a treble which only Austrian Toni Sailer had previously achieved – in Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956. Killy recorded the best time in the first round, but no fewer than 14 skiers finished within a second of each other. Nothing like that had ever happened before. Wearing number 15, Killy was the first to go in the second, more selective run. He was unsure whether his time would be good enough and waited nervously to see how his competitors fared. Hakan Mjön was faster than him, but the Norwegian was just as quickly disqualified as he had missed gates 18 and 19.

Kark Schranz had still not appeared when a loudspeaker announcement reported that he had missed two gates and returned to the start. The Austrian protested that he had been put off by a policeman at gate 21. He was allowed to start again, recorded the best time and celebrated victory. The French team management lodged a protest. Killy returned to his hotel while Schranz gave a press conference. Then the verdict finally came: Schranz had been disqualified by the jury by 3 votes to 2 for missing gates 18 and 19; Killy was the Olympic champion.

Just like Sailer 12 years earlier, he had therefore won three Olympic and four World Championship gold medals. Schranz later said, “My gold medal is in Killy’s house.” However, the incident has never caused any enmity between the two of them.

Killy had marked the start of the Alpine skiing competitions by winning the downhill by a margin of 0.08 seconds over his fellow countryman Guy Périllat. He had won the giant slalom, which comprised two runs for the first time, 2.22 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Willy Favre and beat Austrian Herbert Huber by 0.09 seconds to win the slalom gold medal. Having won 12 of the 16 World Cup races in the 1966/67 season, the favourite had proved himself in all disciplines, albeit only just in two of them, and carved out a brilliant future for himself. Skiing had become much more professional since Sailer’s time, although this was not entirely welcomed by the IOC President Avery brundage. In Grenoble, the manufacturers’ names on the skis had to be covered up.

In protest, the American brundage did not attend any of the Alpine skiing events. Four years later, he expelled Schranz from the Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo on the grounds that he was a “professional”.

Killy, winner of three Olympic and six World Championship gold medals, retired after Grenoble. Managed by Mark McCormack, he became a successful businessman, retaining links with sport. He was one of the two Organising Committee Presidents at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville and has been an IOC member since 1995.

TECHNOLOGY

Integrated timing introduction

"Integrated timing" was introduced at the Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble. Together with precise, reliable competition results, this entailed supplying the press, television, judges and the general public with additional information and statistics. Twenty-three timekeepers and two tonnes of equipment were used in Grenoble. The Omegascope had been further developed and could now be used to superimpose names onto the TV screen, for example.


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