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Throwback: When record-breaker Hecher started skiing dynasty at Squaw Valley

CRANS MONTANA, SWITZERLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Elisabeth Goergl of Austria competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Super-G on February 25, 2017 in Crans Montana, Switzerland (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

February 20, 1960

Nearly six decades since the achievement, Austrian skier Traudl Hecher remains the youngest person in Olympic alpine skiing history to win a medal at a Winter Games, at the tender age of 16.

Going in to Squaw Valley 1960, Germany’s Heidi Biebl was in a class of her own in the women’s downhill, her winning time on the course more than a minute clear of American Penny Pitou in second place.

Hecher comfortably rounded off the podium a second ahead of fourth-place finisher Pia Riva, of Italy, and Hecher would go on to emulate the feat with another bronze four years later in Innsbruck.

It was nearly 50 years to the day of that first bronze that Hecher’s daughter, Elisabeth Goergl, emulated the feat with a downhill bronze at Vancouver 2010.

Goergl also picked up a second bronze in the giant slalom and would go on to become world champion in both disciplines the following year.

She retired in 2017 with an additional seven World Cup wins to her name after a glittering career that also demonstrated her longevity.

Given her mother’s rather youthful feats, is was strangely fitting that Goergl is the oldest World Cup winner in history aged 33 years and 301 days when she achieved the feat in Val d’Isere in December 2014.

In retirement, she has released a CD of her own songs and has been training to become a ski coach.

She had previously sung the official 2011 World Championships song You’re the Hero (Between Heaven and Hell) with Crizz Geisler.

Goergl’s brother Stephan was also an international skier but never pushed for Olympic medal contention, instead sealing two World Cup wins during a shorter international career than his sister’s.


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