Russi is the 2005 Legend of Honor
VAIL Swiss downhill great Bernhard Russi will ascend to the top step of yet another podium on Saturday evening as the 56-year-old Olympic and World Championships downhill gold medallist is inducted into the International Ski Hall of Fame as its 2005 Legend of Honor.The Legend of Honor Banquet is held in conjunction with the 2005 Countrywide American Ski Classic.Born and raised in Andermatt, Switzerland, Russi captured the downhill gold medal at the 1970 World Championships in Val Gardena, Italy, defeating Austrias Karl Cordin and Australian Malcolm Milne.Two years later, at the Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, Russi was once again golden in the downhill, outdistancing teammate Roland Collombin and Austrias Heini Messner. He was poised to record back-to-back Olympic downhill wins at the 1976 Innsbruck Games before the daredevil run of Austrian Franz Klammer relegated Russi to the silver medal position.The truly special thing about Bernhard, said Vail Valley Foundation president Ceil Folz, is that he is still making major contributions to the sport of ski racing, over 25 years after his retirement from competition. The Vail Valley has a special place in its heart for Bernhard because he has been a true friend, not to mention everything he has helped us accomplish through the downhill courses he has helped design and build.During the course of his career, Russi recorded a total of 10 World Cup wins, nine in downhill and one in giant slalom, en route to capturing the 1971 and 1972 World Cup downhill discipline titles. He enjoyed five seasons with at least one World Cup victory during the course of the winter campaign.Following his retirement from racing, Russi continued to give back to the sport of alpine skiing, working directly with the International Ski Federation (FIS) as the international governing bodys downhill technical expert. In this capacity, he has designed numerous Olympic and World Championships downhill tracks, including the 2002 Olympic course in Snowbasin, Utah, and Beaver Creeks renowned Birds of Prey racecourse.Previous Legend of Honor recipients have included: Emile Allais, Birger Ruud, Dick Durrance & Gretchen Fraser, Toni Seelos, Stein Eriksen, Freidl Pfeifer, Karl Molitor, The Werner Family, Andrea Mead Lawrence, Christl Cranz, Christian Pravda, Tom Corcoran, Anderl Molterer, Nancy Greene-Raine, Pepi Gramshammer, Marielle & Christine Goitschel, Toni Sailer, Billy Kidd & Jimmie Heuga, Gustavo Thoeni and Bob Beattie.The 2005 Countrywide American Ski Classic is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. For more information on the Countrywide American Ski Classic, contact (970) 949-1999 or visit http://www.vvf.org.Vail Colorado
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