EXPIRED: 08/24/09 -Anton “Toni” Sailer, 73, an Olympic gold medalist in ‘56 quit skiing 2 years later to cash in on his Austrian good looks as a singer & actor, eventually starring in over 20 flicks. As for music, well – he can honestly say he was ‘big in Japan’.
Sailer was born in Kitzbühel, Austria and is considered one of the best Alpine skiers in history. At the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina, Italy, he won all three Alpine events – the Downhill, Slalom and Giant Slalom – the Triple Crown of Olympic racing, which made him the first athlete to do so.
Not only did he win all three races, but did it by unbelievable margins over his peers – the Giant Slalom by 6.2 seconds, the Slalom by 4 seconds and the Downhill by 3.5 seconds.
Often overlooked is that Sailer, to complete the the 1956 FIS World Championship races also at Cortina, also won the gold in the Combined.
According to the Official web site of the Olympic Movement, Sailer’s Giant Slalom time is still the largest margin of victory in the history of Olympic Alpine skiing. Think about that relative to the hundredths of a second margins we have today!
Two years later at the Bad Gastein, Austria, 1958 World Championships he again won gold in Downhill, Combined and Giant Slalom and finished 2nd in the Slalom.
After he had retired in 1959, he appeared in several movies such as Das Blaue vom Himmel , co-starring Zarah Leander. He also made pop music, 18 albums worth, which were huge in Austria, germany, Italy and – probably due to his good looks – Japan.
Despite his acting and singing talents, Sailer hero decided to coach the Austrian ski team from 1972 to 1976. In 1985, the International Olympic Committee awarded him the Olympic Order.
In 2004 he announced this candidacy for Mayor of his hometown of Kitzbühel, but withdrew some weeks later.
He died in Innsbruck, Austria after a long illness, and with him does a legend from the age of wooden skis.