Franz Klammer, also known as the Kaiser, is a former alpine ski racer born in an Alpine farmer family in Austria.
Klammer has made an overwhelming record in the history of Alpine skiing and is an inspiration for many youths.
Klammer has dominated the downhill event in four consecutive World Cup Seasons from 1975 to 1978. Moreover, he won gold at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.
He started skiing at the age of 14, a little late than other alpine kids. Klammer used to ski while going to school.
Klammer, also known as The Kaiser or Klammer Express, is an inspirational figure for many alpine ski racers.
He had a unique style and approach to skiing that, as per experts, is difficult for any other ski racer to slay.
At present, Klammer works as a skiing consultant and is also an ambassador for the UN.
Let’s get to know about the life of Franz Klammer- his early life, career, and his legacy.
Before delving into the details, have a glance at some quick facts about Franz Klammer.
|Full Name||Franz Klammer|
|Birth Date||December 3, 1953|
|Birth Place||Mooswald, Carinthia, Austria|
|Nick Name||The Kaiser or Klammer Express|
|Siblings||Klaus Klammer (Brother)|
|Age||69 years old|
|Height||6 feet (1.82 m)|
|Weight||79 kg (174 lbs)|
|Sports||Alpine ski racing|
|World Cup Debut||December 1972|
|Profession||Alpine Ski Racer|
|Disciplines||Downhill, Giant Slalom, combined|
|Active Years||1972 – 1985|
|Retired||1985 at the age of 31|
|Medals won||1 Olympics Gold Medal; 2 World Championships Gold; and 1 World Championships Silver|
|Current Profession||Skiing Consultant|
|Kids||Sophie Klammer, Stephanie Klammer|
|Net Worth||$45 Million|
|Merch||Olympic Cut Signatures|
|Last Update||November, 2023|
Franz Klammer: Early Life and Education
Klammer was born in a farming family in Mooswald, community Fresach, Carinthia.
And, like any other alpine fam boys, Klammer also skied to school during the winter.
Klammer has a brother named Klaus Klammer who has paralysis due to a crash in a downhill race.
Besides, there is no information about Klammer’s family members.
However, Klammer started racing relatively later than others, at the age of 14.
He competed in racing whilst working on the family farm during the summer after dropping out of school.
Klammer had a rough time forming the Austrian ski team as traditionally, the states of Tyrol and Salzburg dominated it.
Finally, after much struggle, Klammer made his world cup debut at the age of 19 in 1972 at the Val Gardena downhill.
Klammer, with his skills and dedication, finished ninth in the training run for the race.
However, because of his nerves, Klammer finished 32nd on the day of the race.
And after that, Klammer spent the next 13 seasons on the World Cup circuit.
Franz Klammer: Personal Life
Klammer is married Eva Klammer in 1979.
They met a few years earlier, in 1975, when Klammer was in Tunisia at a fitness camp with the Austrian ski team.
Klammer and his wife are happily married to date and have two beautiful daughters named Sophie Klammer and Stephanie Klammer.
Franz Klammer: Career
Klammer is a former professional and champion alpine ski racer who is well-known in the field for his unique style and approach.
The player started skiing at the age of 14; furthermore, he debuted in World Cup at the age of 19.
Klammer marveled at alpine ski racing for 12 years and retired in 1985 at the age of 31.
Klammer made his debut in the World Cup in December 1972 at the age of 19.
However, he ended up in the 32nd position because of his physical problems.
Later in the 1973 World Cup season, Klammer finished second in St. Anton downhill behind Bernhard Russi of Switzerland.
Similarly, after the accomplishment in the 1973 World Cup, Klammer finished third at St. Moritz.
And, yet again, he finished in the 3rd position in the giant slalom at Mont Sainte-Anne.
The following season, Klammer ended up in the second position in the downhill standings behind Roland Collombin of Switzerland.
Unfortunately, Colombian fell during a training run and ended up breaking his back and ending his promising career as well.
After Colombia’s career suffered a dreadful end, Klammer won the race in December 1974 and every other downhill race during the 1975 season except in Megève.
If he had won that race as well, Klammer would have won all the World Cup titles in March 1975.
Moreover, in the 1975 Olympic test event, Klammer defeated the defending Olympic Champion Bernhard Russi of Switzerland by nearly a half-second.
In the 1976 Winter Olympics, the 22-year-old Klammer won the gold medal in the downhill at Innsbruck in his own country, Austria.
With the win, he became the defending World Cup downhill champion.
Moreover, he had won 3 downhills in January at Wengen, Morzine, and Kitzbuhel.
Even though Klammer dominated the downhill event in the World Cup competition, he could not achieve the overall title because technical specialists had two events to earn points.
However, a speed specialist had only one event to earn points.
Moreover, the second-speed event, the Super-G, was not a part of the World cup event until December 1982.
Therefore, Klammer ended up at the 3rd position in the overall World Cup title despite winning 8 out of 9 downhills.
Similarly, in the following seasons, Klammer finished fourth overall in 1976, third overall in 1977, and fifth overall in 1978.
After acquiring his fourth consecutive season title in 1978, Klammer had a prolonged slump until the end of the 1981 season.
It seemed that he was highly affected by his brother’s spinal cord injury in a downhill race.
Besides his brother’s injury, he may have also been affected because of the change in ski supplier from Fischer to Kneissl.
Nevertheless, he could not form a strong 4-member Austrian downhill team for the 1980 Olympics.
Thus, he failed to defend his Olympic title at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
Return to the races
After Klammer failed to defend his Olympic title, he worked long and hard and even changed his ski supplier from Kneissl to Blizzard.
Finally, he made a comeback in December 1981 and won at Val-desire.
Similarly, the following season, Klammer finally put up his game and regained his World Cup Downhill title, followed by a 1984 victory at Kitzbuhel.
Moreover, at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Klammer faced a disappointing defeat and finished up tenth on a less-than-challenging course.
Bill Johnson, who had promising training runs, won the 1984 Olympics.
Finally, after participating in the 1985 World Cup race, Klammer retired from the international competition at the age of 31.
Klammer has won 10 consecutive downhills, including the spectacular, pressure-laden win at the 1976 Olympics.
Throughout his career, Klammer had a total of 26 downhill wins- 25 World Cups and 1 Olympics.
Because of his achievement, he is arguably the best and greatest downhill racer ever.
Klammer has finished 26 World cup victories, 45 podiums, and 87 top-ten finishes.
Franz Klammer: Motor Racing
After retiring from the alpine competition in March 1985, Klammer immediately started motor racing.
Soon enough, Klammer started touring car racing, and he was driving Mercedes-Benz salons all over Europe.
He races professionally and even raced as far away as Australia.
Finally, in 1990, Klammer won a round of the European Touring Car Championship.
Franz Klammer: Legacy
Klammer, with his accomplishment, is a hero to Austrian ski racing fans as well as to the worldwide fence.
He is known as ‘The Kaiser’ and ‘Klammer Express.’
Klammer has established a foundation, Franz Klammer Foundation, that benefits seriously injured athletes.
He was inspired by his younger brother Klaus, who has paralysis from the waist down due to a crash in a downhill race at the age of 16.
Klammer is an inspiration to many alpine downhill racers. Many claims that Klammer’s style and approach to ski racing are unique and inspirational.
Franz Klammer: Controversy
Klammer is one of the Alpine Ski heroes who have barely had any controversy against him.
Moreover, he is free from any sort of intense hatred as well.
However, back in 1984, Klammer was involved in a controversy with Bill Johnson, who had won the 1984 Olympics against Klammer.
Klammer described Johnson to a teammate as a “nasenbohrer” after winning a race in the previous season.
The term Nasenbohrer is a German slang used for a rookie; however, its literal meaning is ‘nose picker.’
Besides this minor controversy, Klammer is neither involved in any sort of rumor or controversy.
Franz Klammer: Net Worth
The Austrian skier has a net worth of $45 million earned from his professional career.
Klammer currently works as a skiing consultant and ambassador to the UN. However, there is no information about the player’s salary at present.
Franz Klammer also owns The Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge, a condominium lodge. The lodge is located in the Mountain Village Center, Telluride, United States.
These days, the Klammer lodge has been going on about “lodge for sale”. The lodge offers various ownership benefits for the owners which are also available on their website.
Franz Klammer: Social Media
Klammer seems to be a private person as he has not revealed much information about his family and personal life.
Considering his privacy in his personal life, he has not been so fond of appearing on any social media platforms.
Is Franz Klammer divorced?
No, Franz Klammer is happily married to Eva Klammer since 1979.
Is Franz Klammer an actor?
Franz Klammer has stepped into the acting world with his debut movie “Chasing the Line” in September 2021.