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French Jean VUARNET

Olympic Alpine Ski Champion, Vice President of the French Ski Federation

Source :  Annie ACKERMANNSerge CONNEAUeletotHarry DESMARAISvlabelle

Born: on January 18, 1933 in Le Bardo, Tunisia
Died: on January 02, 2017 in Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France


The high point of Vuarnet's racing career came at age 27 at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, where he won the gold medal in the downhill.[1] Previously, he had won bronze in the same event at the World Championships in 1958 at Bad Gastein.[2] From 1957 to 1959, Vuarnet achieved seven titles as a French skiing champion: twice in the downhill (1958, 1959), slalom (1957, 1958) and alpine combined, and in the giant slalom (1957). He had placed third in the slalom and the alpine combined in the "Kandahar" at Sestriere in 1956. He was not selected for the Olympic team in 1956.

He honed his revolutionary aerodynamic "egg position" (French: "dite de l'œuf") now known as The Tuck - a lower stance in which he squatted down with knees bent, arms outstretched and fists clasped together, in a bid to increase his speed. He also was the first to race on metal skis (skis métalliques Rossignol), on which he won the downhill at the 1960 Winter Olympics. The tenth racer on the course, he won by a full half-second.

After retiring from active competition, Vuarnet became head of the Italian alpine ski team from 1968 to 1972, and vice-president of the French skiing association, a role in which he served from 1972 to 1974. He was a skiing innovator, the first to use metal skis and tuck position

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