|Type||Competed in Olympic Games|
|Full name||Franciszek•Gąsienica Groń|
|Used name||Franciszek•Gąsienica Groń|
|Born||30 September 1931 in Zakopane, Małopolskie (POL)|
|Died||31 July 2014 in Zakopane, Małopolskie (POL)|
|Measurements||170 cm / 66 kg|
|Affiliations||Wisła Zakopane, Zakopane (POL)|
From the Polish winter sports capital of Zakopane, Franciszek Gąsienica Groń originally excelled in alpine skiing and won medals at the Polish Junior Championships in the late 1940s. Already a competitor at both alpine and Nordic skiing he branched into other sports during his compulsory military service. Gąsienica Groń became a military champion at freestyle swimming and played football in the Polish 2nd Division before being persuaded to take up the Nordic combination when he returned to civilian life in 1954. Although he showed great promise in the two years before the 1956 Winter Games he was originally omitted from the Olympic Games and it took the threat of resignation from Polish team coach Marian Orlewicz for him to be called into the team.
Gąsienica Groń did not finish in the top six positions in either of the two parts of the event but his consistent performances pulled him ahead of his more favoured rivals and into a very surprising bronze medal position. This was Poland’s first medal in Olympic winter competition and, as of 2013, remains the only one won by a Pole in Nordic combined events. In 1957 Gąsienica Groń suffered a serious crash whilst jumping at his home resort of Zakopane and spent three days in a coma. Whilst he did recover and competed on until 1964 he could not produce the same level of results in international competition. Gąsienica Groń became a well-respected coach in his native country and coached over 40 national champions in various Nordic disciplines. Forty-six years after he competed at the Winter Games his grandson Tomasz Pochwała followed in his footsteps by competing at the Salt Lake City Games.
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|1956 Winter Olympics||Nordic Combined (Skiing)||POL||Franciszek Gąsienica Groń|
|Individual, Men (Olympic)||3||Bronze|