Full name: Alfred "Fred" Rössner
Born: August 16, 1911 in Sankt Johann am Tauern, Steiermark, Austria
Died: December 25, 2005 in Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
Sport: Cross Country Skiing
Alfred Rössner, born in the Austrian mountain village of St. Johann am Tauern (Styria), was an allround athlete. He primarily was a cross country skier, winning three Austrian titles and taking part in the 1936 Winter Olympics, where he placed 8th as the starter of the Austrian 4 × 10 km relay team. The following year, he was the first person ever to cross the Caucasus on skis, and together with Friedl Wolfgang the first to conquer the north side of the Eiskögel mountain peak. He kept mountaineering and hiking through the mountains all his life, even past his 90th birthday.
As a trainer, Rössner was also an all-rounder, and he had more success as well. He started out as a trainer of the Austrian cross country team, achieving 4th and 5th places for the relay team at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. In 1950, he also took up the management of the Austrian male alpine skiers, which had been relatively unsuccessful at the 1948 Olympics.
Having obtained a university degree in physical education, he introduced training methods that were rather unorthodox for the time, including a summer program, heavy conditional training and development of explosive strength. His approach proved very successful, and the Austrian men won 5 medals at the 1952 Winter Olympics. The “White Miracle Team” grabbed all podium spots in the downhill race at the 1954 World Championships, and won 6 medals in Cortina d’Ampezzo, including 3 gold medals for Toni Sailer and a clean sweep of the giant slalom. After the 1956 season Rössner stepped down following an internal quarrel in the Austrian Skiing Federation, although he did not give up his position as cross country coach.
“Fred” Rössner, changed his focus towards the summer sports. Already in 1956, he coached Austrian kayakers Max Raub and Herbert Wiedermann to a bronze medal in the 1000 m K2 event. He coached the Austrian rowers and kayakers at the next four Olympics as well, coaching another bronze medal boat in 1968. During this period, he was also the president of the Austrian wrestling federation. In 1958, he was assigned director of the Elite section of the Austrian Federal Institute for Physical Education.
From 1969 to 1987, Rössner was a member of the council of the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), uniquely serving in subcommittees for cross country skiing, alpine skiing and ski jumping. From 1987 on, he was an honorary member of the FIS. He was also an honorary member of the FISU, the International University Sports Federation, after chairing the Winter Universiade committee for over a decade.
|1936 Winter||24||Garmisch-Partenkirchen||Cross Country Skiing||Men's 18 kilometres||Austria||AUT||39|
|1936 Winter||24||Garmisch-Partenkirchen||Cross Country Skiing||Men's 4 × 10 kilometres Relay||Austria||AUT||8|
|1936 Winter||24||Garmisch-Partenkirchen||Cross Country Skiing||Austria||Final Standings||39||1-27:05|