Franz Klammer ranks as one of the best downhill skiers of all time, having won the downhill World Cup a record five times (1975-1978, 1983). Of his 26 World Cup victories, 25 came in the downhill, while also winning one combined race in 1976. In major championships, Klammer won the combined at the 1974 World Championships in St. Moritz, while placing second in the downhill. Two years later, he excited the Austrian crowd by winning the Olympic downhill, beating Bernhard Russi’s time in the final part of the course. After his 1978 World Cup win, Klammer’s performances stagnated for several years, not winning a World Cup race until 1981. In 1984, Klammer won the downhill at Kitzbühel (Hahnenkammrennen) a record fourth time, after three consecutive wins 1975-1977. Franz Klammer was Sportsman of the Year in Austria three times: 1975, 1976 and 1983..
Following his 1985 skiing retirement, Klammer switched to auto racing, competing four seasons in the German Touring Car Championships (DTM), with limited success, although he did become Touring Car Champion in Austria. He later founded the Franz Klammer Foundation to support disabled athletes, in honor of his brother, who had a severe skiing accident in 1977, which left him wheelchair bound. In 2003 Franz Klammer’s autobiography 50 Golden Years and another biography by Adi Kornfeld titled Franz Klammer: Ein Leben wie ein Roman (A Life like a Storybook) were published. Today, Klammer work’s as a skiing consultant and is ambassador for the United Nations. He also worked on the failed bid by Klagenfurt for the 2006 Winter Olympics.