Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, the first Spaniard to win a gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games, died Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 56.
    Fernandez Ochoa died at his home Monday morning, the Spanish Olympic Committee said.
    The Spanish skier won gold in the men’s special slalom at the 1972 Sapporo Games. His sister, Blanca, is Spain’s only other Winter Olympic medalist. She won bronze in the slalom at the 1992 Albertville Games.
FRANCISCO FERNANDEZ OCHOA, the first Spaniard to win a gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games, died Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 56.
    Born on Feb. 25, 1950, Fernandez Ochoa was nicknamed “Paquito” by his friends. He passed away at his home Monday morning, the Spanish Olympic Committee said.
    The Spanish skier won an unexpected gold medal in the men’s slalom at the 1972 Sapporo Games. His sister Blanca is Spain’s only other Winter Olympic medalist. She won bronze in the slalom at the 1992 Albertville Games as well as four World Cup races.
    In 1974, Fernandez Ochoa won bronze in slalom at the St. Moritz FIS World Championships and a World Cup race at Zakopane, Poland, in the first and only World Cup stop done in that country.
    He also reached two other World Cup podiums in slalom and in combined and recorded 10 top-10 finishes from 1968 to 1980. His best placement on the World Cup tour was his ninth place in 1975.
    “He was out on his own and a born competitor,” Spanish Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco said. “He was before his time in that he won a medal at a time when it was unthinkable for Spain.”
    In his last public appearance a week ago, Spanish princesses Cristina and Elena unveiled a statue of the skier in his hometown of Cercedilla, near Madrid.
    A former member of the FIS Council, Fernandez Ochoa was also known for having been the coach of King Juan Carlos, who is an avid sportsman. He is survived by his wife, Maria Jesus Vargas, and two daughters, Barbara and Paula.

— Patrick Lang and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Article Tags:

What do you think?

comments

UP NEXT
Nov 6 2006
USSA foundation gains new trustees
LAST UP
Nov 6 2006
Icer Air packs in 25,000 for big-air theatrics

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This