Seizinger, Katja (1972—)

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Seizinger, Katja (1972—)

German skier. Pronunciation: KAHT-yah SIGHTS-inger. Born in Datteln, West Germany, on May 10, 1972; lives in Eberbach, Germany.

Compiled six medals at the World Junior championships (1989 and 1990), including a gold in the Super G and a silver in the downhill in Zinal, Switzerland (1990); won a gold medal in the Super G at the World championships in Morioka, Japan (1993); had a World Cup giant slalom victory in Kloevsjoe, Sweden (1993); took the bronze medal in the Albertville Olympics in the Super G, and finished 4th in the downhill and 8th in the giant slalom (1992); won Olympic gold medal in the downhill at Lillehammer (1994); won the downhill World Cup titles (1992, 1993); won two giant slaloms, in Maribor and Kvitfjell, and tallied two third-place finishes (1995–96); won overall title in World Cup (1995–96); won gold medals in the downhill and the combined at Nagano Olympics (1998).

Alpine skier Katja Seizinger was born in 1972 and grew up in the industrial Ruhr of northern Germany; her father was a steel executive. While most German skiers hone their skills in the mountains of Bavaria, Seizinger learned to ski in the Savoy region of France, near Albertville, where her family vacationed. In 1992, the site was the home of the Winter Olympics, and Seizinger won a bronze medal in the Super G.

Seizinger went on to win the downhill World Cup titles in 1992, 1993, and 1994 and the Super G title in 1993, 1994, and 1995. She also placed first in the Super G in the 1993 World championships held in Morioka, Japan. In 1994, in Lillehammer, she took the Olympic gold medal in the downhill with a time of 1:35.93. One of her major competitors, Picabo Street , came in second for the silver.

Seizinger placed first overall in the 1996 World Cup and also led on the 1997–98 World Cup tour going into the 1998 Nagano Olympics, having won four downhills and four Super G's. Clearly the favorite, she finished a surprising 6th in the Super G in Nagano, while Street placed first. Less surprisingly, a few days later Seizinger took the gold medal in the downhill with a time of 1:28.89, becoming the first skier, man or woman, to win consecutive downhill golds in the Olympics. Sweden's defending Olympic champion Pernilla Wiberg placed second; France's Florence Masnada came in third. Two days later, Seizinger took her second gold medal in the women's combined, becoming only the second woman in Olympic history to win three Alpine gold medals. Vreni Schneider of Switzerland had been the first. During the event, Wiberg fell on her first trip down the course, making way for a German sweep: Seizinger with the gold, Martina Ertl with the silver, Hilde Gerg with the bronze. Katja Seizinger is also an avid equestrian, tennis player, and parachutist.