- 17 Feb 1968
- Grenoble 1968
Tigerish Greene claims giant slalom gold
The women’s giant slalom produced one of the outstanding displays of these Games. Nancy Greene, a Canadian known as Tiger because of her aggressive style, was competing in her third Olympic Games, and had never before finished higher than 7th place. However, she had come into the Games on the back of an emphatic victory in the inaugural World Cup in 1967, a title she retained the following season.
In Grenoble, she entered all three of the Alpine skiing events, buoyed by her World Cup triumphs, but she could finish only tenth in the downhill, the first of them.
The slalom was a much better competition for her. She was third after the first run and then produced an outstanding display to set the fastest time in the second round, moving her up to second place, and silver medal behind France's Marielle Goitschel.
The giant slalom was her final chance to win a gold medal. It was a competition in which Greene had taken part in the previous two Games, but her results were not much of a clue as to what was to come. In 1960, she was placed 26th while four years later she improved to 16th.
This time round, though, there was a different Nancy Greene in Canada's colours. She had carried the nation's flag at the opening ceremony, and had learnt from her past mistakes. Where once nervousness had hindered her, now her coaches knew the solution – before her race, they took her for a coffee and kept talking until it was nearly time to start.
Her mind clear, Greene skied impeccably to take victory. In fact, she skied extraordinarily well. That day, there was less than a two-second gap between second-placed Annie Famose, of France, and Britain's Davina Galicia, in eighth. But the gap between Greene and Famose was more than two and a half seconds, a cavernous margin in a sport such as this.
It was her final Olympic competition. She retired as Canada's most decorated skier and was later named as the country's greatest female athlete of the 20th Century.