Anton Engelbert "Toni" Sailer (17 November 1935, Kitzbühel – 24 August 2009) was an Austrian alpine ski racer, who is considered among the best in the sport. He won three gold medals in alpine skiing at the 1956 Winter Olympics, becoming the only triple gold medalist from that Games and thus the most successful athlete in 1956. Until 1956 the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and the Winter Olympics were held together at the same time. Therefore during that era the Olympic Champion was also the World Champion; though there were no medals awarded for the "Alpine skiing combined" at the time.
Sailer, nicknamed "Blitz from Kitz" (Blitz = German word for "bolt of lightning" or "flash"), was born in Kitzbühel. He was the first skier at the Winter Olympics to win all three alpine skiing events, taking gold in the downhill, slalom, and giant slalom at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. He was the fifth athlete to win three gold medals in the same Olympic games, and became the most successful athlete at the 1956 Winter Olympics.
Two years later, Sailer won three gold medals and one silver at the four-event 1958 World Championships in Bad Gastein, Austria. He retired from competition in 1959; from 1957–71, he appeared in a handful of movies, most of them shallow comedies at least partly set in alpine regions, with Sailer showing off his talent. From 1972–76, he was chief trainer and technical director of the Austrian Skiing Association (ÖSV). Occasionally, as late as 2003 he was noted for appearing in a number of TV episodes or made for TV movies. He also sang professionally for a time, made 18 record albums.
For his contribution to the Olympic Movement, the International Olympic Committee awarded him the Olympic Order in 1985.
In January 2004 Sailer, although not associated with any political party, announced that he would run for Mayor of Kitzbühel. A few weeks later he withdrew his candidature, saying he had only now realized that being mayor was a full-time job. In 2006 he announced his retirement as chief of race of the Hahnenkamm Race, a position which he had occupied for 20 years.
Toni Sailer was named Austrian Sportspersonality of the year in 1956, 1957, and 1958., and "Austrian Sportspersonality of the century" in 1999. On 16 September 1958, he featured on the cover of Bravo magazine.
Personal life 
Sailer married Gaby Rummeny in 1976 in Vancouver; she died of cancer in 2000. His second marriage, to Hedwig Fischer, lasted from 2006 until his death. His son Florian (by Rummeny) also survives him.
It was announced in January 2008 that Sailer had laryngeal cancer, for which he had been undergoing chemotheraphy in the preceding months. He died of cancer in Innsbruck, aged 73, in 2009.
External links