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Émile Allais: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Father of Modern Skiing
Posted By Patrick Kiger On October 23, 2012 @ 8:46 am In Legacy | No Comments
There was a time, in the late 1930s, when Émile Allais was a the best all-around skiier on the planet. In the 1937 world championships, he won gold medals in the downhill, slalom and combined, becoming the first athlete to win both downhill and slalom races in the international event. He was not only talented but also so bold and fearless that, after taking a bad fall and being knocked unconscious in an event in 1936, he returned the next day to race. Jean-Claude Killy, the legendary French skier who dominated the sport in the late 1960s, said that it was Allais who taught him to take risks.
But Allais, who died in France on Oct. 17 at age 100, was more than a great athlete. Perhaps more than anyone else, he helped to make skiing into a popular sport, not just in Europe but in the United States as well. And he changed the way that people skied – even inventing some of the equipment that we still use today. Here are five fascinating tidbits about the man whom Killy calls the father of modern skiing.
Here’s a 2006 interview with Allais (sorry, it’s in French) and some vintage film of his 1937 championship performance.
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