Madeleine Berthod first competed in the Olympic Games in 1952 and placed sixth in both the downhill and the slalom. In 1956, she finished fifth in the giant slalom.
Then, on her 25th birthday, Madeleine raced in the downhill, an event in which she was the favourite. Berthod did not disappoint; she won by 4.7 seconds. Her margin of victory was four times larger than any other woman's in the event's history.