Gustav Thöni

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Gustav Thöni
— Alpine skier —
Gustav Thoeni.jpg
Thöni at age 18 in the Slalom
at the 1970 World Championships
Disciplines Giant Slalom, Slalom,
Downhill, Combined
Club G.S. Fiamme Gialle
Born (1951-02-28) 28 February 1951 (age 63)
Trafoi, South Tyrol, Italy
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
World Cup debut 11 December 1969
(age 18)
Retired March 1980 (age 29)
Olympics
Teams 3 – (1972, 1976, 1980)
Medals 3 (1 gold)
World Championships
Teams 6 – (197080)
  (includes three Olympics)
Medals 7 (5 gold)
World Cup
Seasons 11 – (197080)
Wins 24
Podiums 69
Overall titles 4 – (197173, '75)
Discipline titles 5 – (3 GS, 2 SL)

Gustav Thöni (sometimes listed as Gustavo Thoeni) (born 28 February 1951) is a retired champion alpine ski racer from northern Italy.

Career[edit]

Gustav Thöni was born in the German-speaking province of South Tyrol, in the hamlet of Trafoi which is part of the municipality of Stilfs, which is situated on the northern ramp of the Stelvio Pass. He currently operates a hotel there.

Ranked among the greatest Italian skiers ever, Thöni won three Olympic medals and a total of four overall World Cup titles in five years in the early 1970s. The four titles are an achievement he shares with Pirmin Zurbriggen and Hermann Maier, exceeded only by Marc Girardelli's five.

Thöni was the dominant skier in the technical events (slalom and giant slalom) in the early 1970s. His first victory came in his debut race on the World Cup circuit, a giant slalom at Val-d'Isère, France, in December 1969. Still a teenager, he had a very successful rookie year during that 1970 season with four victories and nine podiums. He finished third in the overall standings, just eight points behind winner Karl Schranz of Austria. Thöni won the overall title the next three seasons of 197173, and again in 1975. He was succeeded as the dominant technical skier by Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden, then by Alberto Tomba.

The year that Thöni did not win (1974), he was a close second to his fellow countryman and friend Piero Gros.[1] The near-miss of five consecutive overall titles is a record that would most likely never have been broken. He did win two world titles that year, in giant slalom and slalom,[2][3] at the 1974 World Championships,[4] but those results were not included in the World Cup standings.

Although he concentrated on the technical events, he did occasionally compete in the only speed event of the era, the downhill (the Super-G was not run on the World Cup circuit until December 1982). His best finish in a downhill was a second place on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel, Austria, in January 1975. After more than two minutes on the classic Streif course, he lost to the up-and-coming Austrian legend Franz Klammer by just one-hundredth of a second, a distance of about 25 cm (10 in) at 130 km/h (80 mph). This event inspired a low-success movie featuring Thöni himself, directed by Duccio Tessari in 1981.

Thöni also won a number of combined events (downhill & slalom) during his career, including the non-medal titles in the combined at the Olympics in 1972 and 1976 (but counted as world championship titles).

Thöni's final victory in a slalom came in March 1975 at Sun Valley. He won the final race of the season, a parallel slalom ("pro-style" heats) the following week in Val Gardena, Italy, against his challenger Stenmark to secure the overall title. His last win in giant slalom was in January 1976, and his final World Cup victory was in the combined at Kitzbühel in January 1977. His last podium finish was a third place in the slalom at Åre, Sweden, in February 1979.

He finished eighth in the slalom at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. As the torch had been passed on to the two top finishers, Stenmark and American Phil Mahre, Thöni retired from World Cup competition a month later in March 1980 at the age of 29. He served as a trainer with the Italian Ski Team and was a mentor to Alberto Tomba.

His cousin Roland Thöni was also a World Cup alpine ski racer in the 1970s. Roland took bronze in the slalom at the 1972 Olympics, while Gustav took the silver.

World Cup results[edit]

Season titles[edit]

  • 9 titles - (4 overall, 3 giant slalom, 2 slalom)
Season Discipline
1970 Giant Slalom
1971 Overall
Giant Slalom
1972 Overall
Giant Slalom
1973 Overall
Slalom
1974 Slalom
1975 Overall

Season standings[edit]

Season Age  Overall   Slalom  Giant
 Slalom 
Super G Downhill Combined
1970 19 3 4 1 not
run
awarded
only
in 1976
& 1980
1971 20 1 2 1 13
1972 21 1 4 1 17
1973 22 1 1 4
1974 23 2 1 3
1975 24 1 2 4 9
1976 25 3 3 2 2
1977 26 6 5 10
1978 27 26 22 10 23
1979 28 9 9 20
1980 29 51 18

Race victories[edit]

  • 24 wins - (11 GS, 8 SL, 4K, 1 PR)
    • 69 podiums - (2 DH, 26 GS, 32 SL, 8 K, 1 PR)
      • 25 second places
      • 20 third places
  • World Cup races (over 300 starts)
Season Date Location Discipline
1970 11 Dec 1969 France Val d'Isère, France Giant Slalom
4 Jan 1970 West Germany Bad Hindelang, West Germany Slalom
29 Jan 1970 Italy Madonna di Campiglio, Italy Giant Slalom
30 Jan 1970 Giant Slalom
1971 10 Jan 1971 Italy Madonna di Campiglio, Italy Slalom
21 Feb 1971 United States Sugarloaf, ME, USA Giant Slalom
25 Feb 1971 United States Heavenly Valley, CA, USA Slalom
27 Feb 1971 Giant Slalom
1972 2 Mar 1972 United States Heavenly Valley, CA, USA Giant Slalom
1973 15 Jan 1973  Switzerland  Adelboden, Switzerland Giant Slalom
4 Feb 1973 Austria St. Anton, Austria Slalom
4 Mar 1973 Canada Mont Ste. Anne, QC, Canada Slalom
1974 20 Jan 1974  Switzerland  Adelboden, Switzerland Giant Slalom
2 Mar 1974 Norway Voss, Norway Giant Slalom
10 Mar 1974 Czechoslovakia Vysoke Tatry, Czechoslovakia Slalom
1975 12 Jan 1975  Switzerland  Wengen, Switzerland Combined
19 Jan 1975 Austria Kitzbühel, Austria Combined
30 Jan 1975 France Chamonix, France Slalom
1 Feb 1975 France Megève, France Combined
15 Mar 1975 United States Sun Valley, ID, USA Slalom
23 Mar 1975 Italy Val Gardena, Italy Parallel
1976 5 Dec 1975 France Val d'Isère, France  Giant Slalom 
12 Jan 1976  Switzerland  Adelboden, Switzerland Giant Slalom
1977 16 Jan 1977  Switzerland  Wengen, Switzerland Combined

World championship results[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
 Slalom 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1970 18 4 DNF not
run
1972 20 2 1 13 1
1974 22 1 1
1976 24 2 4 26 1
1978 26 DNF1 24 12
1980 28 8

From 1948 through 1980, the Winter Olympics were also the World Championships for alpine skiing.

Olympic results Olympic rings with white rims.svg[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
 Slalom 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1972 20 2 1 not
run
13 not
run
1976 24 2 4 26
1980 28 8

See also[edit]

Video[edit]

  • YouTube.com - video - montage - Gustav Thöni
  • YouTube.com - video - 1972 Winter Olympics - Gustav Thöni
  • YouTube.com - video - Val Gardena, Italy - parallel slalom - Gustav Thöni & Ingemar Stenmark - 1975-03-23

References[edit]

  1. ^ Waha, Eric (March 11, 1974). "Thoeni wins ski battles, loses title". Schenectady (NY) Gazette. Associated Press. p. 33. 
  2. ^ "Thoeni seen 'True champ' after world GS triumph". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. February 6, 1974. p. 38. 
  3. ^ "Thoeni adds second skiing gold". Montreal Gazette. UPI. February 11, 1974. p. 17. 
  4. ^ Johnson, William (February 18, 1974). "Along came the little people". Sports Illustrated: 24. 

External links[edit]

Winter Olympics
Preceded by
Luciano De Paolis
Italy Flag bearer for Italy
1976 Innsbruck
Succeeded by
Gustav Thöni
Preceded by
Gustav Thöni
Italy Flag bearer for Italy
1980 Lake Placid
Succeeded by
Paul Hildgartner