Egon Zimmermann

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Egon Zimmermann
Alpine skier
DisciplinesDownhill, Giant Slalom,
Slalom, Combined
ClubSK Arlberg
Born (1939-02-08) 8 February 1939 (age 80)
Lech, Vorarlberg, Austria
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
World Cup debutJanuary 1967 (age 27)
inaugural season
RetiredMarch 1968 (age 29)
Teams2 – (1964, 1968)
Medals1 (1 gold)
World Championships
Teams4 – (1962, '64, '66, '68)
    (includes two Olympics)
Medals3 (2 gold)
World Cup
Seasons2 – (1967, 1968)
Overall titles0 – (17th in 1967)
Discipline titles0 – (9th in DH, 1967)

Egon Zimmermann (born 8 February 1939),[1] often referred to as Egon Zimmermann II, is a former World Cup alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from Austria. Zimmermann won the Olympic downhill at Patscherkofel in 1964 and won several medals on the professional tour in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

He is often confused with Egon N. Zimmermann (19 February 1933 – 27 February 2016) who competed for Austria in the 1958 World Championships and in the 1960 Winter Olympics and was married to Penny Pitou, an Olympic medalist in 1960 with the U.S. Ski Team.[2]

Early life[edit]

Zimmermann was raised on a farm near Lech, Vorarlberg, with two brothers. Lech blossomed into a ski resort while he was growing up, and his family converted their farm house into a pensione. His childhood coincided with the World War II post-war poverty of Austria, so not only did Zimmermann have no formal training, but his skis were often "fourth or fifth-hand."[3] At 15, his father forced him to learn a trade, and he schooled in a Parisian chef program. He returned to Austria by 18 and won a clean sweep of the 1958 Junior Championships. When he was promoted to the National team, Zimmermann commented "For me it was also the realization of a childhood dream, a dream interrupted by a kitchen."

Career peak and Olympics[edit]

He won two medals at the 1962 World Championships in Chamonix, a gold in giant slalom and a bronze in downhill. He was named the "Skier of the Year" in 1963 by European journalists.

For the 1964 Olympics in Austria, the "dashing" and "handsome"[3] Zimmermann was heavily favored to win. However, the course at Patscherkofel was quite difficult (nicknamed the "Course of Fear"), but he still managed to win by 0.74 seconds. (Franz Klammer famously won on the same course a dozen years later in 1976.) He did not enter the slalom and did not finish the giant slalom. Despite not sweeping the alpine events like compatriot Toni Sailer in 1956, Zimmermann appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in the United States.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Zimmermann is a hotel owner in Lech am Arlberg and suffers from multiple sclerosis.[1][5] Two other alpine medalists from the 1964 Winter Olympics also developed MS, Jimmie Heuga (1943-2010) and Pepi Stiegler.


  1. ^ a b Sports
  2. ^ "Egon N. Zimmermann". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Ress, Paul (January 27, 1964). "A fight for life by the home team". Sports Illustrated. p. 32. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Dan (February 10, 1964). "Russian blades and fast French skis". Sports Illustrated. p. 14. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012.
  5. ^ Wallechinsky, David; Jaime Loucky (2005). The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics, Toronto: Sport Classic Books. ISBN 1-894963-45-8

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