| Event type

Downhill, Men

Date 7 February 1972 — 13:31
LocationMount Eniwa, Mount Eniwa
Participants55 from 20 countries
Course SetterUNK
Venue detailsGates: 24
Length: 2640 m
Start Altitude: ?
Vertical Drop: 772 m

Karl Schranz would have been a big contender but he had been banned from the Olympics by a vote of the IOC only days before the Opening Ceremony. Schranz was known for having many endorsement contracts helping ski manufacturers test and design their equipment, and IOC President Avery Brundage, who hated the Winter Olympics, decided to make an example of Schranz, which raised the ire of the Austrians, who threatened to withdraw their entire ski team. But they did not. Even with Schranz present, the favorite would have been Swiss Bernhard Russi, downhill World Champion in 1970 and World Cup Champion in the downhill in 1971-72. Russi had drawn the fourth starting slot, and when he left the starthouse, the lead was held by his teammate, Andreas Sprecher. But Russi bettered Sprecher’s time by over 1½ seconds and the time held up for the gold medal. Sprecher would eventually drop to fourth behind Roland Collombin (SUI-silver) and Heini Messner (AUT-bronze). David Wallechinsky has noted in The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics, )The hypocrisy of the IOC’s decision against Schranz was shown by the fact that … Russi had allowed his photo and name to be used on matchboxes, car stickers, and newspaper advertisements as part of a large-scale pre-Olympic publicity campaign for a Swiss insurance company.) Russi later became known as a designer of downhill racing courses, and has designed the Olympic downhill courses in 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2014.

14Bernhard RussiSUI1:51.43Gold
211Roland CollombinSUI1:52.07Silver
35Heini MessnerAUT1:52.40Bronze
41Andreas SprecherSUI1:53.11
526Erik HåkerNOR1:53.16
613Walter TreschSUI1:53.19
78Karl CordinAUT1:53.32
818Bob CochranUSA1:53.39
922Josef LoidlAUT1:53.71
107Marcello VaralloITA1:53.85
=1117Giuliano BessonITA1:54.15
=1110Stefano AnziITA1:54.15
132Gustavo ThoeniITA1:54.37
1415Mike LaffertyUSA1:54.38
1520Roger Rossat-MignodFRA1:54.72
163Bernard OrcelFRA1:54.81
1714David CurrierUSA1:54.96
1825Hansjörg SchlagerFRG1:55.05
1927Henri DuvillardFRA1:55.13
2030Jim HunterCAN1:55.16
219Bernard CharvinFRA1:55.33
2224Sumihiro TomiiJPN1:55.34
236Malcolm MilneAUS1:55.48
2412Franz VoglerFRG1:55.50
2519Hank KashiwaUSA1:55.60
2623Herbert MarxerLIE1:55.90
2729Alfred HagnFRG1:56.04
2842Manni ThofteSWE1:56.66
2921Willi LeschFRG1:56.67
3044Willi FrommeltLIE1:57.58
3131Reinhard TritscherAUT1:58.05
3228Reto BarringtonCAN1:58.29
3348Royston VarleyGBR1:58.53
3445Olle RolénSWE1:59.28
3543Masahiko OtsueJPN1:59.55
3647Peik ChristensenNOR1:59.71
3737Alex Mapelli-MozziGBR2:00.28
3849Derek RobbinsCAN2:00.38
3953Dan CristeaROU2:01.26
4036Ivan PenevBUL2:02.16
4140Chris WomersleyNZL2:02.24
4250Robert BlanchaerBEL2:02.45
4339Konrad BartelskiGBR2:02.71
4446Steven CliffordAUS2:02.90
4541Resmi ResmievBUL2:03.01
4662Sergey GrishchenkoURS2:03.19
4754Carlos PernerARG2:03.69
4855Virgil BrenciROU2:04.33
4938Ross EwingtonNZL2:04.75
5056Iain FinlaysonGBR2:06.50
5158Jorge-Emilio LazzariniARG2:08.29
5260Ali SavehIRI2:11.29
5361Lotfollah Kia ShemshakiIRI2:16.14
5457Fayzollah Band AliIRI2:18.19
5559Gorban Ali KalhorIRI2:20.98