Going into Albertville 1992 there was one Olympic record that was proving hard to break: no athlete from the Southern Hemisphere had ever won a single medal at a Winter Games. New Zealand’s Annelise Coberger arrived in France determined to break that sequence.
Her grandfather had come to the country from Germany and had brought with him a love of skiing. He established one of New Zealand’s first ski equipment retailers, and the Cobergers were all keen skiers.
Annelise was the most talented of the clan. At the Junior World Championships in 1990 she had taken a bronze medal and had gone on to translate her promise into strong showings on the senior circuit. Just a month before the 1992 Winter Games, she won a World Cup slalom race, which meant that she arrived in Albertville brimming with confidence.
However in her first run Coberger could place only eighth fastest, prompting suggestions that the pressure of the occasion was going to prove too much for the 20-year-old. But on the second run, she delivered something very special, beating the field by a third of a second, and propelling herself up to second place in the standings behind Austria's Petra Kornberger.She was not the only person to make history in the event. The bronze went to Bianca Fernández Ochoa, who became the first Spanish woman to win an Olympic medal of any sort.