Among alpine racers of the past 50 years, none—not even Hermann Maier nor Ingemar Stenmark—has matched the record set by Jean-Claude Killy. In fact, no modern athlete may ever duplicate Killy’s dominance of a sport. The Frenchman won more than 70 percent of all the races on the 1967 World Cup circuit. In a single winter, he won all five World Cup downhills, including the perilously steep Hahnenkamm, three slalom races and four of five giant slaloms. He also won all three alpine skiing gold medals at the 1968 Games.
After turning pro, he became the first skier managed by master sports agent Mark McCormack, who landed Killy endorsement deals with Head skis, Chevy cars and even a shampoo. Killy won the 1973 professional ski racing title.
He built an eponymous sportswear company, headed the 1992 Olympics at Albertville and ran the Tour de France.
Handsome and deceptively shy with a sharp sense of humor, Killy is the 20th century’s most famous skier. He lives in Switzerland and is a lead organizer of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia. —J.F.