Edy Reinalter - Alpine Skiing
It is the reaction to pressure that sometimes tells. An athlete who knows that he or she must perform under the greatest scrutiny tends to either wilt, or to rise to the occasion. In St Moritz, Edy Reinalter showed that when the pressure was growing, he could react.
He was competing in the first men's slalom ever to be staged at the Olympic Winter Games and was down in third place among a tightly contested field after the first run. The lead was held by the Italian Silvio Alverà.
Edy, whose real first name was Romedi, knew about competition. He had been taking part in international competitions since the end of the Second World War, and had made a good name for himself.
But, perhaps most importantly, he knew about St Moritz. He had been born in the town and brought up there and was assured of strong support. He felt comfortable on the snow, and many expected him to be fastest in the first run. So now he had to react to his disappointment – third was a very good performance, but Reinalter had dreams of gold.
And so it proved. His second run was spectacular – he came down the mountain half a second quicker than anyone else and won the title by half a second from the French skier James Couttet. Alverà recorded a lacklustre second run and finished fourth, behind France's Henri Oreiller.
Reinalter also finished 22nd in the downhill and tenth in the combined. Yet his place in history is assured – the first winner of the slalom, and still the only Swiss man to win the title.