Schranz kicks up a snowstorm
History records that Jean-Claude Killy won three Gold medals in Grenoble, but one of the most memorable performances came from a man who went home empty handed. In the slalom, Killy had led after the first round, but his second run was not so good and left a glimmer of opportunity for his rivals.
Firs Håkon Mjön of Norway took the lead, but was disqualified for missing two gates. Then came Karl Schranz who was to be involved in one of the greatests mysteries of these – or any other – Games. Schranz said he was blocked by an official during his run, appealed, got to ski again, set the fastest time – and was then disqualified.
The fog was beginning to come in and envelope the course when Austria's Karl Schranz started his run, and what happened next is still the subject of debate and discussion.
According to Schranz's version, as he approached the 21st gate, a figure in black crossed the course in front of him. Schranz came to a halt and returned to the start to ask for a re-run.It was a request that was granted, and Schranz recorded an almost flawless run to beat Killy's time.
He was announced as the winner and even gave a press conference to talk about his success. But then, two hours later, it was announced that Schranz had, in fact, missed two gates on his first run before the mysterious person crossed his path, and so he was disqualified.
He appealed, but unsuccessfully. Victory went to Killy while Schranz returned home shrouded in despondency. Nobody has ever explained who the mysterious figure was that Schranz insists brought him to a halt.