Karl Schranz

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Karl Schranz
— Alpine skier —
Karl Schranz.jpg
Schranz at Kitzbühel
Disciplines Downhill, Giant Slalom,
Slalom, Combined
Born (1938-11-18) 18 November 1938 (age 78)
St. Anton, Tyrol, Austria
Height 175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
World Cup debut January 1967 (age 28)
inaugural season
Retired February 1972 (age 33)
Website karlschranz.com
Teams 3 – (1960, 1964, 1968)
Medals 1 (0 gold)
World Championships
Teams 6 – (196070)
includes three Olympics
Medals 6 (3 gold)
World Cup
Seasons 6 – (196772)
Wins 12 – (8 DH, 4 GS)
Podiums 23 – (12 DH, 9 GS, 2 SL)
Overall titles 2 – (1969, 1970)
Discipline titles 3 – (2 DH, 1 GS)

Karl Schranz (born 18 November 1938) is a former champion alpine ski racer from Austria, one of the best of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Born and raised in St. Anton, Tyrol, Schranz had a lengthy ski career, from 1957 to 1972. He won twenty major downhills, many major giant slalom races and several major slaloms. Late in his career he was the successor to Jean-Claude Killy as the World Cup overall champion; Schranz won the title at age 30 in the third World Cup season of 1969, and repeated in 1970. He was also the downhill champion for those two seasons and was the giant slalom season champion in 1969. Schranz won both the "classic downhills" four times each: the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbühel, Austria, (1966,1969, 1972,1972), and the Lauberhorn at Wengen, Switzerland, (1959, 1963, 1966, 1969). He also excelled at the legendary Arlberg-Kandahar events, winning nine times, from 1957 (Chamonix) to 1970 (Garmisch-Partenkirchen).

Early years[edit]

Schranz' father was a tunnel worker in St. Anton, which led to an early death from tuberculosis; his widow was left to raise five children. In addition to the hardship, their hut burned down. At age 12, Schranz became an apprentice ski maker, then worked in a sawmill, and later became a ski tester. Schranz began skiing before age five on salvaged broken skis, left by tourists and reworked by his father.[1]

At age 18, he won the first of three consecutive Arlberg-Kandahar downhill and combined titles at Chamonix in March 1957.[2] Schranz won again the following year, rotated back to his hometown at St. Anton,[3] and also in 1959 at Garmisch, West Germany.[4] He missed the 1958 World Championships in Bad Gastein due to illness.[3]


The Olympics were unfortunately Schranz's nemesis. His disqualification from his fourth Olympics in 1972 for acknowledging that he, like all other top racers, was not a pure amateur caused a furor and subsequent reform of the IOC. In his first Olympics at age 21, Schranz was injured in 1960, but started anyway and finished seventh in both the downhill and giant slalom. He won a silver medal in giant slalom in 1964 at Innsbruck, despite being ill with the flu.

In 1968 at Grenoble, France, Schranz competed in all three alpine events, held at Chamrousse. He finished fifth in the downhill and sixth in the giant slalom, both won by rival Jean-Claude Killy of the host country. In his first run in the slalom, Schranz time was only 0.32 behind. His second run was run in a very dense fog, which hampered his visibility, and Schranz was impeded by a race official which affected his race. He was given another chance to run the second run and took the lead, but was later informed that his first attempt at run two should have been counted as he missed a gate before encountering the race official, and Schranz was disqualified. A jury upheld the decision and Killy was declared the winner for a third Olympic gold medal in the same games. There was a great deal of controversy over the suspicion that partisan French officials were attempting unfairly to prevent Schranz from winning so that Killy would sweep all three races, duplicating Toni Sailer's 1956 sweep.

Schranz had better success at the world championships of non-Olympic years: gold in the downhill and combined in 1962 and gold in the giant slalom in 1970.[5] (From 1948 through 1980, the Winter Olympics were also the world championships for alpine skiing.)

Classified as a professional by the International Olympic Committee,[1][6] Schranz was banned from the 1972 Winter Olympics and retired from the World Cup circuit in mid-February at age 33.[7] In July 1973, he joined the pro ski racing circuit.[8][9]

Had the World Cup begun a decade earlier, Schranz's outstanding achievements during his prime would be far better known. He would for instance rank behind only Klammer as the second best downhiller ever and would have been the overall world cup champion three (1966, 1969, 1970) or more times.

Schranz later became a hotel owner in his hometown of St. Anton and played a key role in organizing the 2001 World Championships.[10]

World Cup results[edit]

Season titles[edit]

  • 5 titles - (2 overall, 2 DH, 1 GS)
Season Discipline
1969 Overall
Giant Slalom
1970 Overall

Season standings[edit]

Season Age Overall  Slalom  Giant
Super G Downhill Combined
1967 28 7 7 8 not
13 not
1968 29 8 20 11 3
1969 30 1 9 1 1
1970 31 1 13 4 1
1971 32 11 12 8
1972 33 8 2

Results from the 1968 Winter Olympics and 1970 Word Championships were included the World Cup standings.

Individual races[edit]

  • 12 wins - (8 DH, 4 GS)
  • 23 podiums - (12 DH, 9 GS, 2 SL)
Schranz winning at Wengen in 1966,
prior to the first World Cup season
Season Date Location Discipline
1969 12 December 1968 France Val-d'Isère, France Giant Slalom
11 January 1969  Switzerland  Wengen, Switzerland Downhill
18 January 1969 Austria Kitzbühel, Austria Downhill
1 February 1969 Austria St. Anton, Austria Downhill
15 March 1969 Canada Mont St. Anne, Canada Giant Slalom
1970 5 January 1970  Switzerland  Adelboden, Switzerland Giant Slalom
23 January 1970 France Megève, France Downhill
1 February 1970 West Germany Garmisch, West Germany Downhill
10 February 1970 Italy Val Gardena, Italy Giant Slalom
1972 12 December 1971 France Val-d'Isère, France Downhill
14 January 1972 Austria Kitzbühel, Austria Downhill
15 January 1972 Downhill

World Championship results[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
Super-G Downhill Combined
1958 19 not run
1960 21 7 7
1962 23 4 2 1 1
1964 25 24 2 11 6
1966 27 DNF1 3 9
1968 29 DSQ2 6 5
1970 31 DNF2 1 4
1972 33

From 1948 through 1980, the Winter Olympics were also the World Championships for alpine skiing.
At the World Championships from 1954 through 1980, the combined was a "paper race" using the results of the three events (DH, GS, SL).

1958: illness
1972: banned by IOC

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

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
Super-G Downhill Combined
1960 21 7 not run 7 not run
1964 25 24 2 11
1968 29 DSQ2 6 5
1972 33


  1. ^ a b "Karl Schranz third in history to fall to Olympic amateur rule". The Mprning Record. Meriden, CT. Associated Press. February 2, 1972. p. 11. 
  2. ^ "Austria's Schranz combined winner". Milwaukee Sentinel. March 11, 1957. p. 5, part 2. 
  3. ^ a b "Austrian captures ski title". Sunday Herald. Bridgeport, CT. UPI. March 9, 1958. p. 34. 
  4. ^ "Schranz wins alpine trophy". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. February 9, 1959. p. 3, part 2. 
  5. ^ "Austrian steals glory from Frencg". Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. February 10, 1970. p. B-4. 
  6. ^ Waha, Eric (February 1, 1972). "Austrians seek to have Karl Schranz reinstated". Schenectady (NY) Gazette. Associated Press. p. 22. 
  7. ^ "Frustrated Karl Schranz retires". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. February 16, 1972. p. 9. 
  8. ^ "Skier Schranz turns pro". Montreal Gazette. UPI. July 26, 1973. p. 32. 
  9. ^ "Karl Schranz to turn pro". Lewiston (ME) Daily Sun. Associated Press. July 26, 1973. p. 33. 
  10. ^ FIS Newsflash 205. November 19, 2008.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Austria Toni Sailer
Austrian Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Austria Ernst Hinterseer
Preceded by
Austria Heinrich Thun
Austrian Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Austria Heinrich Thun
Preceded by
Austria Liese Prokop
Austrian Sportspersonality of the year
Succeeded by
Austria Ilona Gusenbauer