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Franz Klammer. Chasing The Line

Klammer. Chasing The Line Premiere. Metropol Kino, Innsbruck. Picture: Holger Gassler

The story of the Austrian legend Franz Klammer came to the big screen in Innsbruck six days ago with the release of the “Chasing the Line” movie. The presentation, with the presence of the Innsbruck 1976 Downhill podium: Franz Klammer (AUT), Bernhard Russi (SWI), and Herbert Plank (ITA), was a big success.

Klammer. Chasing The Line Premiere. Metropol Kino, Innsbruck. Picture: Holger Gassler

Franz Klammer was born on December 3, 1953, in a farming family in Mooswald, Carinthia.

Klammer, popularly known as "The Kaiser", is still internationally recognized as the best Downhill skier of all time and the epitome of ski racing.

There are two reasons for this: One is that Franz Klammer holds the victory record for World Cup Downhill races. He won 25 World Cup Downhills, including four on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel, including a string of three consecutive victories (1975, 1976, 1977), and four in Wengen. He won a total of 5 World Cup Downhill crystal globes (1975-78, and 1983).

The second is the Olympic Downhill race on February 5, 1976, at Patscherkofel. In the Downhill run of the 1976 Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck, there was only one favorite: Franz Klammer. The 22-year-old charismatic Downhill skier carried the hope of all of Austria on his shoulders. While the pressure from the public reached astronomical proportions, his ski manufacturer wanted to change equipment at the last minute for promotional reasons, the weather conditions were getting worse from day to day, the mountain was proving to be defiant, and a bad bib number -15-, Franz had to fight Set the ultimate challenge: To find the strength to win the race. But for this, he needed the support of the love of his life, Eva, who gave him the courage to free himself from all constraints in order to be able to contest the race of his life.

Klammer - Chasing the Line (2021) is an Austrian feature film by Andreas Schmied with Julian Waldner as Franz Klammer and Valerie Huber as his girlfriend and future wife Eva. The premiere was on September 27, 2021, at the Zurich Film Festival.

The English title Chasing the Line refers to the risky line that Klammer was looking for in the race on the Patscherkofel Olympic Downhill.

The shooting took place on more than 30 days from February 15, 2021, to the beginning of April 2021 in Zwickenberg, Carinthia; Patscherkofel, Tirol; and Vienna among other places.

The film was produced by Epo-Film (producers Jakob Pochlatko and Dieter Pochlatko) and Samsara Film (producers Loredana Rehekampff and Andreas Schmied) in coproduction with Sabotage Films Vienna (coproducers Tom Brunner and Gernot Schaffler).

As Tom Kelly remarks in a great article about the film, "Klammer spoke for all skiers in one of the final scenes. Alone together after the race, Eva looked into Franz’s eyes and asked him: Did you always want to be famous? He responds simply: No, I just wanted to ski”.

The following video is in german but I think watching it gives you the opportunity to understand the relevance of Klammer's victory in the Olympic Downhill in 1976.


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