Host City: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Venue(s): Gudiberg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen; Kreuzeck Area, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Date Started: February 7, 1936
Date Finished: February 9, 1936
Format: One downhill run and two slalom runs, point tables determined placement.
One of the hotly debated issues in the last months before the Olympic Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen was about the status of the ski instructors. In 1932, the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) had decided to permit instructors to compete in international competitions. At the IOC Session in Oslo in the winter of 1935, the IOC informed the FIS that paid ski instructors would not be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics. One of the victims of this decision was the Austrian skier Toni Seelos, world champion in Alpine Combination in 1935. Seelos was also the coach for Christel Cranz, who won the women’s Alpine Combination in the 1936 games. According to contemporary reports, Seelos was a test skier in the first round in the slalom event in the Olympic Winter Games, and recorded a time 6 seconds better than the fastest time in the competition! Austria and Switzerland declined to enter a team in the men's event in protest against the IOC decision to exclude the ski instructors from the Olympics.
Among the entries, he silver medalist in the combination at the 1936 World Championships, the French skier Émile Allais from Megève, was among the hottest names, together with the German favorites Franz Pfnür (gold in 1935 downhill) and Gustav Lantscher, the Austrian-born world champion in the 1932 downhill who received German citizenship in 1935. The home favorite Roman Wörndle and 17-year-old Rudi Cranz, the little brother of the Olympic champion Christel Cranz, completed the strong German team. Unlike Laila Schou Nilsen, the Norwegian Birger Ruud, Olympic champion in ski jumping 1932, was also a well known name among the alpine skiers. He won bronze in the Alpine Combined at the 1935 World Championships, and knew the slopes of Kreuzjoch quite well, since he had stayed in Garmisch for several months during the last two years, working as a very popular assistant in a local sport shop.
The men’s downhill course was 3,800 m. with a descent of 959 m., and the competition started at noon, one hour after the start of the women’s race. The four best placed in the competition were the first four to finish, and were the only competitors able to break the 5 minute barrier. With start number 1, Lantschner crossed the finishing line in 4:58.2. The next skier Allais came close, recording 4:58.8. With start number 3, Ruud made an excellent time of 4:47.4, taking the lead with a +10 second’s margin. Pfnür, with start number 5, was unable to beat the Norwegian, but with the second best time of 4:51.8 he was in good position before the slalom event.
Two days later the slalom event was organized in Gudiberg, and the start and finishing points were the same as for the women the day before. The men however had to negotiate 33 gates, 10 more than the ladies. In the first round Ruud spoiled his medal chances by missing a gate – he had to climb back and also received a 6 seconds penalty – giving him a time over 20 seconds behind the leader. Pfnür had the best time in both rounds and won the gold medal easily. Lantschner secured a German double by keeping ahead of Allais in both rounds. Home favorite Wörndle was given a 6 seconds penalty in the second round and was unable to catch Ruud, and the young and talented Cranz was out of contention for medals after a 12 second penalty in the first round. In the second round he was only 0.1 seconds behind the champion Pfnür. Six years later both Wörndle and Cranz had become victims of the World War II, both losing their lives on the Eastern front as soldiers in the Wehrmacht.
|10||Dick Durrance, Jr.||21||United States||USA||87.74|
|12||Peter Lunn||21||Great Britain||GBR||83.82|
|13||George Page||25||United States||USA||82.85|
|14||James Palmer-Tomkinson||20||Great Britain||GBR||82.52|
|23||Robert Livermore, Jr.||26||United States||USA||77.18|
|29||Christopher Hudson||35||Great Britain||GBR||73.92|
|AC||Karl Johan Baadsvik||25||Canada||CAN||DNF|
|AC||Link Washburn||24||United States||USA||DNF|
|AC||Raymond de Braconnier||18||Belgium||BEL||DNF|
|AC||Werner De Spoelberch||34||Belgium||BEL||DNF|
|AC||Mehmut Şevket Karman||23||Turkey||TUR||DNF|
|AC||James Riddell||26||Great Britain||GBR||DNF|