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Grospiron turns on the freestyle

© Getty Images
Every Olympic Games leaves its own unique imprint on sporting history. One of the highlights in Albertville was the full debut on the Olympic programme of freestyle skiing. It had featured as a demonstration in Calgary four years earlier, but now there were medals up for grabs. The inaugural champion was crowned in the moguls, in the person of Edgar Grospiron.

The Frenchman was one of the sport's real characters – charming, outgoing and also extremely talented. He had placed third at the demonstration event in Calgary but had then gone on to win two world titles and racked up a string of World Cup victories. His consistency over the previous four years had been remarkable and now, still just 22, he looked to be in the form of his life.

Grospiron sailed through the qualifying round with the best score. Just behind him was his French team-mate Olivier Allamand, and it looked likely that the two compatriots would battle it out for the gold in the final round.

Grospiron duly raised the bar, producing his most impressive run yet as he set the fastest time and recorded the highest points score to beat Allamand to the gold medal. The USA’s Nelson Carmichael came third to complete freestyle skiing’s first ever Olympic podium.

© Getty Images
Grospiron took a bronze medal in Lillehammer two years later and then retired from the sport.
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