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Man Who Won '66 Women's Downhill Gives Up Medal

November 19, 1988|Associated Press

FRANKFURT, West Germany — A 1966 World Championships gold medal in the women's downhill may be retroactively awarded to former French skier Marielle Goitschel because the winner turned out to be a man, a skiing official said Friday.

Erika Schinegger of Austria, who won the gold medal at Portillo, Chile, discovered during medical tests later in her career that she was in fact a man, according to a new autobiography.

Schinegger, 40, married and the father of a small daughter, now goes by the name of "Erik," according to his book.

On a television show, broadcast by Austria's ORF network, Schinegger gave his gold medal to Goitschel and called the runner-up the real winner.

The Swiss-based International Skiing Federation (FIS), however, said Friday that neither Schinegger nor Goitschel formally applied for a medal change.

"Of course, we would have to award the medal to Goitschel if the athletes formally request that," FIS spokesman Gianfranco Kasper said.

"But so far we have had no request from either athlete," Kasper said in a telephone interview from his office at Guemligen, Switzerland. "I have only heard about this story through the news media."

Excerpts from Schinegger's autobiography, "Mein Sieg Ueber Mich" ("Victory Over Myself"), published by Munich's Herbig Verlag, are currently appearing in the Austrian newspaper, Kronenzeitung, and as part of a feature series in the Hamburg-based newspaper, Bild.

The Bild series describes how Schinegger learned of his true sexual identity at age 20, during medical testing for the 1968 Winter Olympics at Grenoble, France.

Doctors were alarmed to find only male hormones in Schinegger's saliva, and they put him through extensive medical and psychological testing, Bild reported Thursday.

After opening his lower torso area, the doctors found that the "male member and testicles were there but had grown inside instead of outside," Bild quoted Schinegger as saying.

"The discovery was a tremendous shock for me, my parents and everyone who knew me," Schinegger was quoted as saying. "What came afterward was an indescribable torture."

The Bild series continued Friday with an autobiography excerpt about Schinegger's sexual confusion as a young girl.

Schinegger underwent corrective operations shortly after the discovery and now owns a hotel and ski school in the Carinthia region of Austria, Bild said.

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