Egon Zimmermann, Olympic downhill champion, dies at 80

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Egon Zimmermann, who won the 1964 Innsbruck Olympic downhill on home snow, died at age 80, according to Austria’s ski federation.

Zimmermann, a cook from Lech, Austria, became the third skier from that town to win an Olympic title. A fourth, Patrick Ortlieb, joined them in 1992.

He called making the Austrian national team “the fulfillment of a childhood dream that’s only been interrupted by cooking,” according to

Zimmermann won the only Olympic downhill to be held in January, by .74 of a second over Frenchman Leo Lacroix, and landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. A dozen years later, Franz Klammer famously won the Innsbruck Olympic downhill.

Zimmermann, also the 1962 World champion in the giant slalom, later developed multiple sclerosis. In 2012, he relit the 1964 Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremony for the first Youth Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.