Tuesday, August 25, 2009
RIP Toni Sailer
Austrian skiing great Anton Engelbert "Toni" Sailer, who in 1956 became the first athlete to win all three alpine ski events at a Winter Olympics, has died. He was 73. Sailer passed away in Innsbruck on Monday August 24 after a long battle with cancer of the larynx, his Kitzbuehel Ski Club said in a statement Tuesday. Sailer won gold in the downhill, slalom and giant slalom at the 1956 Cortina Olympics in Italy. At the world championships there, he took gold in the downhill, slalom, giant slalom and combined. He also won gold in the downhill, giant slalom and combined, as well as silver in the slalom, at the world championships in Bad Gastein, Austria two years later. Due to his speed, he became known as "The Blitz from Kitz." After retiring from competition in 1959, Sailer became a singer and an actor. He also produced skis in Canada and served as technical director of the Austrian Ski Federation between 1972 and 1976. He was awarded the Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee in 1985. In 1999, the Kitzbuehel native - who reportedly stood on skis for the first time at the age of two - was honored as Austria's sportsman of the century. Toni Sailer appeared as Alan Fox in the 1964 Euro-western “Lost Treasure of the Aztecs”.