He’s a 20th century skiing icon, probably one of the best known skier in the World. Jean-Claude Killy was born on August 30, 1943 in the town of St-Cloud, Haute-Seine just outside Paris. His family moved to Val d’Isère right after the war where his father would open a ski shop and then a hotel. Dropped out of school at 15 and made the French National Team a short time after. He won his first international race in 1961 at 18.
Killy was plagued with injuries and illness for the first part of the decade that included the 1962 World Championships in Chamonix and 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck. His breakthrough came on the eve of the World Cup inaugural season at the 1966 World championships in Portillo where he took the Gold in the Downhill and Combined. Jean-Claude dominated the first World Cup season with 12 wins taking the Downhill, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Overall Titles.
In the 1967-68 ski season Killy would finally shine. He carried the hopes of a nation at the Olympic Games in Grenoble where he wouldn’t disappoint them. Jean-Claude would win three Gold medals and his only the second skier after Toni Sailer in 1956 to have accomplish this feet to this day. Killy went on to repeat his wins of the Overall and Giant Slalom World Cup titles.
He retired from ski racing after the 1968 season, but he kept busy with commercial deals, movies, TV, race car driver and did one year on the Pro skiing in the US in 1973 where he won the title. Later on he became part of the executive of the FIS, co-president of Albertville 1992 Olympic Games and also seated on the IOC. Killy was decorated with France’s Legion d’honneur and Val d’Isère-Tignes joint ski areas was given the name Espace Killy in his honour.
This week’s clip features his feat at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics:
Killy was Overall World Cup Champion in 2 consecutive years (1966-67 to 1967-68).
4 times winner of individual discipline titles in two seasons.
18 victories (7 in GS, 6 in Downhill and 5 in Slalom).
24 podiums (9 in GS, 8 in Downhill and 7 in Slalom).
3 Olympic Gold at Grenoble Olympics (1968).
6 times World Championship Gold in GS, Downhill, Slalom and combined (1966 and 1968).
* Olympic medals also counted as World Championship. 1968 Combined victory only counted for the World Championships