Rosi Mittermaier, who won downhill and slalom gold medals at the 1976 Winter Olympics and narrowly missed a sweep of all three women’s Alpine skiing events at the Games, has died. She was 72.
German news agency dpa cited a statement from Mittermaier’s family that she died peacefully “following a serious illness”.
Mittermaier won West Germany’s only two gold medals at the 1976 Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
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She nearly became the first woman to win three Alpine skiing gold medals at the same Olympics but missed out by 0.12 seconds to Canada’s Kathy Kreiner in the last event, the giant slalom, and took silver.
Nicknamed “Gold-Rosi” in Germany, Mittermaier also won the World Cup in 1976 — becoming the first German to do so — before retiring at the end of the season at 25.
Mittermaier was part of a storied skiing family, with her sisters Heidi and Evi, her husband Christian Neureuther and their son Felix Neureuther all competing at the Olympics.
“Rosi Mittermaier was a very charming and credible ambassador of the sport, who always approached people openly and in a humble way,” said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
“She inspired all of us with her warmth and her smile.
“For all these reasons, and not only because of her two Olympic gold medals, she will always be remembered as ‘Gold-Rosi’ by all of us.
“Personally it was a great pleasure for me to experience her warmth and her natural dedication to sport since we got to know each other in 1976.
“Therefore, I very much appreciated the cooperation with her as a founding personal member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOCB).
“My thoughts are with her family, who was everything to her, and to whom I send my deepest condolences.”
– Additional reporting by Zac Gates.
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