Downhill Alpine Skiing: Infographic of 19 Women Olympic Gold Medalists (1948 to 2018)

Downhill-Alpine-Skiing-Infographic

Alpine skiing has been a competition in Winter Olympic Games since 1936, held as a combined event. It was not until 1948 (no games were held in 1940 or 1944 due to World War II), downhill skiing was separated from the combined events.

Women from different countries joined this fantastic snowsport ever since. In total, there are 19 amazing ladies who had won gold medals in Alpine downhill skiing during the year of 1948 to 2018.

With us all wilding down from the excitements of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, I figured it would be an awesome idea to put together a list of women gold medalists in history.

That’s why this infographic was created — helping us get to know those women skiers and their extraordinary achievements. See which hero is from your country and the great stories behind her skiing career.

Initially, I was hoping that I could feature all the medalists but soon found it really challenging. Nevertheless, you can click here to learn more about all the gold, silver, and bronze medalists if you are ever interested.

The History of Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing can be traced back to the 1850s in Norway. It was a sport that skiers need to slide down from the top of the hill to the bottom all by the skis. It was first debuted on Olympic in 1936 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

There are five different kinds of races of Alpine skiing in Winter Olympics: Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G and Combined. 1936 was the first yet the only year that downhill and slalom were combined for Alpine skiing competition. In 1948, the race of Alpine skiing was separated as downhill and slalom. The same year, women came to this competition.

That’s why when we look at the Women Gold Medalists in Downhill Skiing, the sport actually started from the year of 1948.

Getting to Know Downhill Skiing

Now that you know downhill skiing is one kind of Alpine skiing competition, let’s take a deeper dive into what it is all about.

Downhill skiing, like many other competitive sports — the one who finishes the competition fastest is the winner. The race is usually very long, and with big jumps and fast turns along the way. In general, it’s a snow sport that requires athletes to have six different techniques, i.e. courage, speed, risk, physical condition, and judgment,” according to the competition rules of the International Ski Federation. How fast can downhill skiers go? 80-95 miles per hour (or 129-153 kilometers per hour), according to Sports Illustrated.

Well, it’s hard for us amateur skiers to reach that speed and it’s dangerous to do so unless you know you’re doing. But, there’s one thing we amateur and pro players in common — the love for this snow sport and the joy we get out of it, no?

Anyway, let’s learn more about each of the women’s gold medalists and what she had to say.

2018 (Pyeongchang): Sofia Goggia

Goggia was the first Italian woman who won the downhill Olympic gold in 2018. At the age of only 25, she had already won two World Cup downhills. Goggia said her achievement was still sinking in:

“I feel so focused on the day that I haven’t realized yet what I’ve done. I moved like a samurai. Usually, I’m really chaotic, but I wanted to take in every little detail, every particular in the morning. I believed in myself.”

2014 (Sochi): Dominique Gisin & Tina Maze

2014 was the first-ever tie for gold in an alpine event at the Olympics. Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze both won a gold medal.

Gisin was named as Swiss Sportswoman of the Year for 2014. She was asked, “What achievements are you most proud of in your sporting career?” She said, “I’m proud, that despite many tough moments, with lots of injuries, I never gave up and made it to the top of an Olympic podium.” It’s truly inspiring to hear her stories.

Maze was awarded the title of the Slovenian Sportswoman of the Year in 2005, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and with her four medals, she is the most decorated Slovenian athlete at the Winter Olympics. Maze even wrote a very inspiring song My Way Is My Decision in 2012. She sang

“Smiling through my tears, my desire’s a weapon against my fears. I want to be a tale they tell over the years, to inspire the world.”

2010 (Vancouver): Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn is one of the most successful American ski racers and is considered among the greatest. She won the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the first ever in the event for an American woman. In AskMen, Vonn was asked, “You’re very accomplished, what motivates you at this stage in your career?” She said: “I want to keep pushing the limits to see what’s possible. That’s the nice thing about ski racing — no one is stopping you from going faster.” We are not born with the ability to do everything, but we can push our limits and strive to the next level.

Check the exciting winning moment (High light of Vonn is from 02:12)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ_Mivy4Fc8

2006 (Turin): Michaela Dorfmeister

  • Home country: Austria
  • Born: March 25, 1973
  • Social Media: Facebook

Michaela is a former skier from Austria. She was the first woman to win the double in the speed events in Alpine skiing, downhill and super-G, since super-G was introduced into the Games in 1988.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npx62g2S-Kg

2002 (Salt Lake City): Carole Montillet

  • Home country: France
  • Born: April 04, 1973

Carole Montillet’s victory in downhill skiing at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics was her first major triumph. It was also the first gold medal for a French woman in Alpine Skiing. One special thing for Montillet was that she declared that she would dedicate her World Cup season to her teammate Regine Cavagnoud, who died unexpectedly in a high-speed collision while training back in 2001.

1994 (Lillehammer) & 1998 (Nagano): Katja Seizinger

  • Home country: France
  • Born: April 04, 1973

Seizinger is the most successful alpine racer from Germany. She became an Olympic champion for the first time in 1994, winning the downhill gold medal. Four years later, Katja replicated her success and thus became the 1st female alpine skier to defend an Olympic title in two consecutive Winter Olympic Games.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOJLoyS-5TY

1992 (Albertville): Kerrin Lee-Gartner

  • Home country: Canada
  • Born: September 21, 1966
  • Social Media: Twitter

Gartner is a former Canadian skier. When she was a child, she dreamed about being crowned Olympic Champion and she heard “Medaille d’or pour Kerrin Lee-Gartner, Canada” (meaning “Gold medal for Kerrin Lee-Gartner, Canada”) and her dream came true in 1992. What an amazing story from her!

1988 (Calgary): Marina Kiehl

  • Home country: Germany
  • Born: January 12, 1965
  • Social Media: Twitter

Marina Kiehl is a former German skier. “Downhill had never been Kiehl’s strongest suit, but here she decided to throw everything she had into her descent” (Olympic)

1984 (Sarajevo): Michela Figini

  • Home country: Switzerland
  • Born: April 7, 1966

Michela Figini made her World Cup debut at age 16 in January 1983 and won the downhill at the 1984 Winter Olympics at age 17. To date, she still remains the youngest Olympic champion in alpine skiing. Before she won the title, she told a reporter “Once I had that line, I was confident that I could go out and do it again the next day. I wasn’t worried.”

Check the winning moment (Highlight of Figini is from 07:54):

1980 (Lake Placid): Annemarie Moser-Pröll

  • Home country: Austria
  • Born: March 27, 1953

Annemarie Moser-Pröll won five World Championship titles (3 downhill, 2 combined) and one Olympic gold medal. Of all female skiers, she is the one who won most races of a single discipline in a row. Her fans gave her a nickname “The Tiger from Kleinari” in memory of her audacious and courageous style in the races.

1976 (Innsbruck): Rosi Mittermaier

  • Home country: West Germany
  • Born: August 5, 1950

In the 1976 winter Olympics, Rosi Mittermaier was the oldest athlete in the downhill skiing at aged 25, while this “Grandma” won double gold medals at downhill and Slalom. This put her competitors in their place in Innsbruck. Unlike other retired skiers, she went on to record an album of folk songs after retired according to the Olympics.

1972 (Sapporo): Marie-Theres Nadig

  • Home country: Switzerland
  • Born: March 8, 1954

When Marie Theres Nadig was only 17 years old, she won gold medals in the downhill and giant slalom events at the 1972 Winter Olympics.

1968 (Grenoble): Olga Pall

  • Home country: Austria
  • Born: February 17, 1947

Olga Pall was selected as the Austrian Sportswoman of the Year in 1968, and in 1996 she was awarded a gold medal for services to the country.

1964 (Innsbruck): Christl Haas

  • Home country: Austria
  • Born: September 19, 1943

Christl Haas became a national hero as a twenty-year-old Olympic champion in the downhill event at the first Innsbruck Winter Olympics.

1960 (Squaw Valley): Heidi Biebl

  • Home country: Germany
  • Born: February 17, 1941

Heidi Biebl was one of the greatest skiers of her generation and the finest German since Christl Cranz. When she recalled her win, she said “I just tried to keep away from the crowds and summon up all the concentration I needed for the race. I wasn’t any more nervous than I usually was.” You can see more about her story here.

1956 (Cortina d’Ampezzo): Madeleine Berthod

  • Home country: Switzerland
  • Born: February 1, 1931

Madeleine Berthod won the gold medal in the downhill skiing event on the day of her 25th birthday and Berthod was the only athlete to feature on a postage stamp.

1952 (Oslo): Trude Jochum-Beiser

  • Home country: Austria
  • Born: September 2, 1927

Trude Jochum-Beiser was the first woman who won two Olympic medals in Alpine Skiing according to the Olympics.

1948 (St. Moritz): Hedy Schlunegger

  • Home country: Switzerland
  • Born: March 10, 1923

Hedy Schlunegger was the first Olympic Gold medalist in women’s downhill skiing.

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