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On This Date in Sports February 17, 1968

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Jean-Claude Killy of France becomes the star of the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. After already won the Gold Medal in the Downhill and Giant Slalom, Killy completes the Triple Crown, by winning Gold in the Slalom, much to the delight of his fans. Jean-Claude Killy won the Slalom the final Alpine event in a time of 1:39.73, as a pair of Austrians Herbert Huber and Alfred Matt, took Silver and Bronze.

Jean-Claude Killy was born in the suburbs of Paris during the time of German occupation on August 30, 1943. After the war, his family moved to the French Alps, allowing Jean-Claud Killy the opportunity to become a world-class skier. Killy’s father a fighter pilot in the war opened a ski shop in the mountains near Albertville. Dropping out of school at the age of 15 to focus on competitive skiing, Jean-Claude Killy joined the French Junior National Team. However, success alluded him in his early years. On the eve of the World Championships in 1962, Killy hit a rough patch of ice and broke his leg. Despite the injury and losing a ski, he finished the race in the fastest time.

Jean-Claude Killy first attempt at the Olympic glory came at the 1964 games in Innsbruck, Austria. However, Killy was plagued by illness, suffering from dysentery and hepatitis, which he contracted from his time doing his compulsory service in the French Army. Over the next four years, Jean-Claude Killy became the top Alpine Skier in the world, winning a pair of Gold Medals at the 1966 World Championships Portillo, Chile. A year later, he finished first in all four major Alpine World Cup events.

As the 1968 games began in France, all eyes were on Jean-Claude Killy, as the home crowd expected a Gold Medal sweep. On February 9th Killy won the Downhill in a time of 1:59.85, finishing .08 seconds ahead of countryman Guy Perillat, while Jean-Daniel Datwyler of Austria captured the Bronze Medal. Three days later, Jean-Claude Killy delivered his best performance in the Giant Slalom, with a time of 3:29.28, which was nearly three seconds better than Silver Medalist Willy Favre of Switzerland, as Heini Messner of Austria won the Bronze.

Looking to complete the sweep, Jean-Claude Killy and the rest of the field had to deal with rough conditions on the mountain as the fog had the created poor visibility conditions in the Slalom. Killy once again posted the fastest time at 1:39.73, which was .09 better than Austrian Herbert Huber, with Albert Matt of Austria taking the Bronze Medal. A third Austrian Karl Schranz cried foul, claiming a patrolman crossed his path on the course. Shranz was given a restart and ran a better time than Killy to lay his claim to the Gold Medal. However, an appeal was made and it was determined that Schranz missed an upper gate and his re-run time was thrown out, allowing Jean-Claude Killy to complete the Olympic Alpine Triple Crown.