Barbara Cochran is the best known of the skiing Cochran family, which has contributed three women and one man to the U.S. Olympic ski team. Taught by her father, Mickey, who later became U.S. alpine coach, she started skiing at age four and won her first big title at the 1966 Junior Nationals when she took the giant slalom. At the 1970 FIS World Championships, Cochran finished second in the slalom and repeated that finish in the 1970 World Cup. She also placed third in the giant slalom in the 1970 World Cup.
She continued to rank among the top three technical skiiers during the 1971 season which led to her 1972 gold medal at Sapporo, a medal which was achieved by the margin of only.02 second over Danièle Debernard of France. After retiring from skiing, Barbara Cochran graduated from college (Vermont), married (now Mrs. Williams), wrote a book (Skiing for Women), and became a writer for The Washington Post.