Best Moments of Alpine Skiing in the Winter Games (VI). Grenoble 1968
In the first Winter Olympic Games to be broadcast in color, French hero Jean-Claude Killy swept the men’s Alpine events, but only after great controversy.
After he won 12 of 16 World Cup races during the 1966-1967 season, French fans hoped that the charming and hugely talented 24-year-old skier would win the three Alpine skiing events when the Olympic Winter Games were staged in Grenoble, France, in 1968.
The Frenchman grown up in the French Alpine village of Val d'Isère began by winning gold in the Downhill, slashing across the finish line a mere eight-hundredths of a second ahead of French teammate Guy Périllat. Then when, for the first time, the Giant Slalom contest was decided by a combination of two runs rather than a single run, Killy again won gold – by more than two seconds. Killy needed the Slalom to complete the Alpine sweep. His second run kept him in the lead until the turn of his closest rival, Karl Schranz. But as Schranz sped through the fog, he skidded to a halt, claiming that someone crossed his path. Granted a rerun, Schranz beat Killy's time and was declared the winner. But a Jury of Appeal disqualified him for missing a gate and awarded gold to Killy.
Killy had achieved what France so wanted – three gold medals at his home Olympic Winter Games. “The party went on for two and a half days”, he later said, “and the whole time I never saw the sun once”.
In 1967, Nancy Greene won the first Alpine skiing World Cup. After finishing tenth in the Downhill and winning silver in the Slalom in the 1968 Grenoble Olympic Winter Games, the Giant Slalom in Grenoble was Greene's last chance for a victory. She skied a near-perfect race, but when she turned around to look at the electronic clock, the numbers were still moving. Greene thought, "I've just skied the race of my life and they missed my time”. Then the clock malfunction was corrected and her time appeared – she had won the race by 2.64 seconds, the largest margin in the event's history.