Karl Schranz

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameKarl•Schranz
Used nameKarl•Schranz
Born18 November 1938 in Sankt Anton am Arlberg, Tirol (AUT)
Measurements175 cm / 73 kg
AffiliationsSki Club Arlberg, St. Christoph am Arlberg (AUT)
NOC Austria
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1


Karl Schranz had a long, successful, but controversial career at the highest levels of international ski racing. He first made the Austrian national team in 1958 and competed at three Winter Olympics – in 1960, 1964, and 1968, winning a silver medal in giant slalom in 1964 at Innsbruck. After Jean-Claude Killy won all three Alpine events at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics, he retired from amateur competition, and Schranz took over the mantle of the world’s top ski racer.

Expected to win several events at the 1972 Winter Olympics, he never even got to compete. Prior to the Sapporo Olympics, Avery Brundage, who hated the professionalism of skiiers in the Winter Olympics, singled out Schranz and banned him from the Games for professional contracts, which Schranz admitted to. However, almost all the top “amateur” skiiers had contracts with various ski companies at that time.

Schranz was a four-time champion in the classic Lauberhorn downhill at Wengen, and also won the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbühel four times. From 1957-70 he won nine Arlberg-Kandahar races. His record at the World Championships was far better than his Olympic one. He won the downhill and combined at Chamonix in 1962, adding a silver medal in giant slalom. After a 1966 giant slalom bronze medal in Portillo, Chile, Schranz won another World gold in 1970 at Gröden, this one in the giant slalom.

In World Cup races, Schranz was overall season champion in 1969 and 1970, winning the downhill event title both years, and won the giant slalom seasonal World Cup in 1969. He won 12 World Cup races, with eight downhill victories, and stood on 23 World Cup podiums. Schranz also won 11 Austrian national titles. He is considered among the greatest ever downhill racers, surpassed in the Austrian pantheon of ski racing heroes only by Franz Klammer.

After his forced retirement after the 1972 Winter Olympics, Schranz settled in Sankt Anton where he owned a hotel. He was also instrumental in helping organize the 2001 World Championships. Schranz received numerous honors during and after his career, being named Austrian Sportsman of the Year in 1959, 1962, and 1970, and being awarded the Skiier d’Or in 1966, 1969, and 1970. In 1980 he received a gold medal for services to the Austrian Republic, and in 1998 was given the grand decoration of the Republic of Austria.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1960 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) AUT Karl Schranz
Downhill, Men (Olympic) 7
Giant Slalom, Men (Olympic) 7
1964 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) AUT Karl Schranz
Downhill, Men (Olympic) 11
Giant Slalom, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
Slalom, Men (Olympic) 24
1968 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing (Skiing) AUT Karl Schranz
Downhill, Men (Olympic) 5
Giant Slalom, Men (Olympic) 6
Slalom, Men (Olympic) AC r3/3

Special Notes