Jean-Claude Killy

Jean-Claude Killy bigraphy, stories - French skier

Jean-Claude Killy : biography

30 August 1943 –

Jean-Claude Killy (born August 30, 1943) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from France. Born in Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, he dominated the sport in the late 1960s. He was a triple Olympic champion, winning the three alpine events at the 1968 Winter Olympics, becoming the most successful athlete there. He also won the first two World Cup titles, in 1967 and 1968.

Dominance – 1967–68

World Cup results

Season standings

Season Age Overall Slalom GiantSlalom Super G Downhill Combined
1967 23 1 1 1 notrun 1 notawarded
1968 24 1 2 1 2

Season titles

  • 6 titles – (2 overall, 1 DH, 2 GS, 1 SL)
Season Discipline
1967 Overall
Giant Slalom
1968 Overall
Giant Slalom

Individual races

  • 18 wins – (6 DH, 7 GS, 5 SL)
  • 24 podiums – (8 DH, 9 GS, 7 SL)
Season Date Location Discipline
1967 9 Jan 1967 SUI}} Adelboden, Switzerland Giant Slalom
14 Jan 1967 Wengen, Switzerland Downhill
15 Jan 1967 Slalom
21 Jan 1967 Kitzbühel, Austria Downhill
22 Jan 1967 Slalom
27 Jan 1967 FRA}} Megève, France Downhill
3 Mar 1967 ITA}} Sestriere, Italy Downhill
10 Mar 1967 Franconia, NH, USA Downhill
11 Mar 1967 Slalom
12 Mar 1967 Giant Slalom
19 Mar 1967 USA}} Vail, CO, USA Giant Slalom
25 Mar 1967 USA}} Jackson, WY, USA Giant Slalom
1968 8 Jan 1968 SUI}} Adelboden, Switzerland Giant Slalom
9 Feb 1968 Grenoble, France1968 Winter Olympics ^ Downhill
12 Feb 1968 Giant Slalom
17 Feb 1968 Slalom
10 Mar 1968 FRA}} Méribel, France Giant Slalom
29 Mar 1968 CAN}} Rossland, BC, Canada Slalom

^ Results from the 1968 Winter Olympics (and 1970 World Championships) were included in the World Cup standings.

Killy was the first World Cup champion in 1967, winning 12 of 17 races to easily take the overall title. He also won the season titles in each of the three disciplines; he won all five of the downhill races and four of the five giant slalom races.

The following year, Killy won the Triple Crown of Alpine Skiing with a sweep of all three gold medals (downhill, giant slalom, and slalom) in controversial circumstances at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. By finishing first in both the downhill and slalom, he also easily won the world championship medal in the combined event.

Killy wasn’t just faster than the other skiers, he was smarter. Electrical timing by Omega was accurate to one-hundredth of a second. The starting official counted aloud, "3-2-1-Go" and the skier’s boot moved forward to push a pivoting rod aside and start the timer. Everyone knew that the closer they got to the bar, the less distance they would travel. Killy, however, relied on enormous upper-body strength and outwitted his opponents. Rather than crowd as close as possible to the bar, Killy knew that he was allowed a 6-second window to push it aside. When the official began counting, he could trip the lever any time he chose from the beginning of the "3-" call and up to 3 seconds after the "Go" signal. Therefore, he rose backward, raised his body completely off the ground with his arms and poles, pulled his feet backwards, and propelled himself forward. Instead of beginning from a standing start right at the bar, as everyone else did, he hit the bar while already moving forward, giving himself a slight edge.