Proell-Moser, Annemarie (1953—)

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Proell-Moser, Annemarie (1953—)

Austrian Alpine skier. Name variations: Annemarie or Ann-Marie Pröll or Moser-Pröll; Annemarie Moser-Proell; Annemarie Moser. Pronunciation: PROHL MOH-sir. Born Annemarie Proell in Kleinarl, Austria, on March 27, 1953; married Herbert Moser (a salesman), in 1975.

Won six World Cup overall titles; won silver medals in the downhill and giant slalom in the Sapporo Olympics (1972); won the World championship in the downhill (1974, 1978), in the combined (1978); won the World Cup (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979); completed a record sequence of 11 consecutive downhill wins (1973); in ten seasons, won a total of 59 individual events (1970–79); won a gold medal in the downhill in the Lake Placid Olympics (1980).

A first-rate competitor and one of the 20th century's most powerful skiers, Annemarie Proell-Moser was widely respected on the international ski slopes. When she announced her first retirement in 1975, U.S. skier Cindy Nelson was disheartened. "I'd rather be second to Annemarie than win without her," she said. "It wasn't the same. You knew you weren't up against the best." Annemarie Proell was born in 1953 into a large Austrian farm family of eight children who skied at every opportunity. Though Proell-Moser did not have formal skiing lessons when young, her father hand-whittled her first pair of skis when she was four, and in wintertime she often played hooky from school to fly down the slopes in the secluded mountain area where she lived.

Proell-Moser burst onto the ski circuit in 1970 and would dominate the slopes for a decade. She was the youngest skier to win the overall World Cup competition in 1971, and she was World Cup overall champion from 1971 to 1975. During this period, she competed in 33 World Cup downhills, winning 21 races and finishing second in 7 others. As well, she won 11 giant slalom competitions and had 4 second-place finishes.

When Proell-Moser arrived at the Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, in 1972, she was a strong favorite to take the Alpine events, but she came in .32 seconds behind 17-year-old Marie Thérèse Nadig of Switzerland in the downhill. She also lost the giant slalom to Nadig, again settling for silver. Worse yet, Proell-Moser was 5th in the slalom, a crushing disappointment; the gold medal went to an American, Barbara Cochran . Proell-Moser returned home and hid her silver medals in the back of her closet.

After the games, Proell-Moser continued to win competitions, including eight downhills in World Cup competition. It took Cindy Nelson, in 1974, to break Proell-Moser's string of 11 straight downhill races. At the 1974 World championships in St. Moritz, Proell-Moser won the downhill title to capture the first world-event gold of her career; she was also first overall in the Nations World Series of Skiing.

But Proell-Moser decided to retire in 1975, avoiding the 1976 Olympics to be held in her own backyard at Innsbruck, Austria. After a year, she returned to skiing, winning another World Cup in 1979; she now held six World Cup titles. The 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics were happier for Proell-Moser, even though she came in 6th in the giant slalom. The media had built the downhill into one of the major races of the games. Proell-Moser defeated Nadig, who won a bronze, by .44 seconds, and Hanni Wenzel , who took the silver. Said James Major, a former editor for Skiing magazine, Proell-Moser's "gold was the victory of the favorite, Wenzel's silver the upset, and Marie-Thérèse Nadig's bronze a defeat." Off the slopes, Proell-Moser had a passion for racing cars and was well known on the Formula One circuit.


Condon, Robert J. Great Women Athletes of the 20th Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1991.

Markel, Robert, Nancy Brooks, and Susan Markel. For the Record. Women in Sports. NY: World Almanac, 1985.

Karin Loewen Loewen , Athens, Georgia