Jean Vuarnet

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJean Raoul Célina André•Vuarnet
Used nameJean•Vuarnet
Born18 January 1938 in Bardo, Tunis (TUN)
Died1 January 2017 in Sallanches, Haute-Savoie (FRA)
AffiliationsSkiclub de Morzine
NOC France
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Jean Vuarnet first featured internationally when he won a bronze medal in the downhill at the 1958 World Championships. He was a pioneer downhiller, as he was really the first to use a deep tucked position, emphasizing its aerodynamic advantages. In 1960, he used the position to win the gold medal in the downhill at Squaw Valley. Vuarnet also skied that year on Rossignol metal skis, and was the first skier to win a major championship using metal skis. After the Olympics, Vuarnet endorsed a brand of sunglasses that took his name, and today Vuarnet Sunglasses are among the world’s most popular brands. He also spent time as a sports administrator with the French Skiing Association from 1962-71.

In 1958, Vuarnet had married Edith Bonlieu, who was a three-time French ski champion and competed at the 1956 Olympics. Edith Bonlieu-Vuarnet and their youngest son, Patrick, eventually joined the Order of the Solar Temple cult. In 1994-95, the cult carried out mass suicides in several Swiss villages and Edith and Patrick were among those who took their own lives.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1960 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) FRA Jean Vuarnet
Downhill, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Olympic family relations

Special Notes