Franz Krienbühl

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameFranz•Krienbühl
Used nameFranz•Krienbühl
Born24 March 1929 in Baar, Zug (SUI)
Died13 April 2002 in Unterägeri, Zug (SUI)
Measurements180 cm / 70 kg
AffiliationsEC Zürich, Zürich (SUI)
NOC Switzerland


Franz Krienbühl cut a remarkable figure on the speedskating rinks during the late 1960s and 70s. He made his first international appearance at the 1968 Winter Olympics, having only discovered skating when 30-years-old. He competed internationally until 1977 and in those 10 years was a hugely popular figure, especially in the Netherlands. Occasionally the referee would have to ask him to stop skating laps of honor after his last race at an international meet, in order to be able to continue the competition. His best international performance was at the 10,000m in 1976 in Innsbruck where we finished eighth.

His last prize was that of 1984 Swiss National Champion, at the age of 55! Initially ridiculed for his poor skating and his un-athletic style, he turned out to be a valuable contributor to the progress of speedskating and sports, as the designer and first user of the one-piece skin suit. He also contributed to the skate development. The last 13 years of his life Krienbuhl’s health was very poor, the result of a cycling accident in 1989 and a cerebral infarct during the following operation. Krienbühl was multi-talented, as he was not only a sportsman and inventor, but an architect and musician (clarinet) as well.

Personal Bests: 500 – 41.78 (1978); 1000 – 1:22.19 (1976); 1500 – 2:03.95 (1976); 5000 – 7:30.03 (1976); 10000 – 15:36.43 (1976).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1968 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) SUI Franz Krienbühl
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 48
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 34
1976 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) SUI Franz Krienbühl
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 27
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 17
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 8