Bernhard Russi has dedicated his entire life to downhill skiing, first as a world and Olympic champion in the 1970s and subsequently as an Olympic downhill course designer since 1988.
He claims to have started skiing at the age of two, which may not be an exaggeration given his achievements while representing Switzerland at the international level.
Bernhard Russi, born on August 20, 1948, is a retired World Cup alpine ski racer from Switzerland. He was born in Andermatt in the canton of Uri.
Even though he has retired from his professional career, he is still quite active and is perhaps one of Switzerland’s most well-known figures because of his numerous media appearances.
In addition, he is an Olympic, World champion, and World Cup in the downhill event. The article here covers everything there is about Bernhard Russi.
So first of all, let’s take a look at quick facts about him.
Bernhard Russi: Quick Facts
|Full Name||Bernhard Russi|
|Birth Date||August 20, 1948|
|Birth Place||Andermatt, Uri, Switzerland|
|Age||73 years old|
|Father’s Name||Not Available|
|Mother’s Name||Not Available|
|Height||6 feet ((183 cm)|
|Weight||71 kg (157 lb)|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
|Children||2: son and daughter|
|Profession||Professional sky racer|
|World Cup debut||January 8, 1968 (age 19)|
|Retired||March 1978 (age 29)|
|Disciplines||Downhill, Giant Slalom|
|Club||SC Gotthard Andermatt|
|Olympics Medals||2 (1 gold)|
|World Championship Medals||3 (2 gold)|
|Worldcup Wins||10 – (9 DH, 1 GS)|
|Awards||Swiss Sportsman of the Year
the Étoile d’Or (the Gold Star)
|Net Worth||$1 – $6 million|
|Favorite Player||Not Available|
|Merch||Alpine Ski Race Suit, Alpine Ski Race Helmet|
|Last Update||June, 2022|
Russi made his World Cup debut at 19 in giant slalom at Adelboden in January 1968. In December 1969, he returned to the World Cup circuit full-time after competing in two races in 1968 and six in 1969.
Moreover, on February 1, he finished fourth in the Downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Thus, he earned a spot on the Swiss team for the 1970 World Championships.
In addition, he won his first event, the downhill, ahead of Austrian Karl Cordin and Australian Malcolm Milne.
Bernhard was second in 1973 and third in 1976 and 1977, and his two downhill titles in 1971 and 1972. His highest overall finish was sixth, which he accomplished three times in 1971, 1972, and 1977.
The Winter Olympics also functioned as the world championships for alpine skiing from 1948 to 1980.
The world championships (1970) and Olympics (1968) were included in the World Cup season rankings during the early seasons. However, these big tournaments were eliminated beginning with the 1971 season.
Bernhard’s performance at the 1974 World Championships on home snow was disappointing.
He finished thirteenth in the downhill at St. Moritz. Russi came close to retaining his Olympic title in the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, but finished second.
Russi’s performance at the 1978 World Championships in Garmisch, where he finished fifteenth in the downhill in late January, was disappointing, as it was in 1974.
He resigned from international racing a few days later with ten World Cup victories, 28 podiums, and 52 top-ten finishes.
During the late 1960s, Russi’s racing career was hampered by his job as a stuntman in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was shot in Switzerland. Unfortunately, during the shoot, he shattered a cervical vertebra.
After a rehabilitation period, he competed in the Downhill Race at Val d’Isère on December 14, 1969, for the first time in several months, placing 14th.
He earned World Cup points by finishing in the top ten for the first time. In addition, he was the 15th racer on the start list on fresh snow, which was a suitable figure for such conditions.
Despite sustaining a hand fracture in a practice race a week prior, he won despite discomfort throughout his winning run.
Russi skied his winning run without ski wax because his coach, Paul Berlinger, scraped it off his skis right before starting.
Russi is presently the chairman of the FIS Alpine Committee and a technical advisor for downhill course design.
Moreover, he was the Rosa Khutor course’s construction supervisor in Krasnaja Poljana (2014 Winter Olympics).
He also works as a ski race commentator for Swiss television. Russi is also a brand ambassador for Subaru, a Japanese automaker, and other Swiss brands.
His first feature film was The thin line: Life on the edge (2008). He appeared as himself in the movie. In addition, he was 60 when he starred in this movie.
Moreover, he is also known for his work on Sapporo 1972: XI Olympic Winter Games (1972), Superstars (1973), and Der Club (1985).
Russi’s also the president of the Andermatt Realp Golf Club, one of the area’s two highly recognized courses.
Bernhard was commissioned by the International Ski Federation (FIS) to design Olympic runs in the 1980s. Sometimes this meant flying over the chosen spot in a helicopter with topographical studies.
In addition, he then skied the proposed slope himself to find a route that would bring out the best in the world’s finest skiers. Olympiabakken, the downhill piste for the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, was created by Kvitfjell (NOR).