Erika HESS

Alpine SkiingAlpine Skiing
Olympic Medals
Games Participations2
First Olympic GamesLake Placid 1980
Year of Birth1962


Erika Hess took up skiing at the age of four and had already broken a leg twice by the age of six. She built up physical strength by working on her family farm and first represented Switzerland at the World Cup in 1978, finishing sixth in the slalom. Her World Championship debut came a few weeks later, and she placed ninth in the giant slalom. It was not until December 1979 that she earned her first podium finishes, earning third and second in back-to-back giant slalom events, which, along with third place in the slalom in January 1980, was sufficient to send her to the 1980 Winter Olympics. At the Games she failed to complete the giant slalom, but finished fifth in both runs of the slalom, which was sufficient to earn her a bronze medal.

Hess achieved her first World Cup victory in January 1981 and from there her star truly began to rise. Over the next year she won 11 additional World Cup events and then dominated the 1982 World Championships by winning the slalom, giant slalom, and combined. This feat earned her the title of Swiss Sportswoman of the Year. On her way to the 1984 Winter Olympics she earned another 11 World Cup victories but faltered at the Games, coming in fifth in the slalom and seventh in the giant slalom. She did, however, serve as the national flagbearer during the opening ceremony. She took the combined title at the 1985 World Championships, but only won one World Cup event in the interim. She rebounded and captured seven events between the 1985 and 1987 World Championships, but her victories in the combined and the slalom at the latter tournament would prove to be her last. She retired in March 1987, having earned a total of 88 World Cup podium finishes, five World Cup slalom titles (1981-1983, 1985-1986), one World Cup combined title (1984), and two overall titles (1982 and 1984). Since then she has operated training camps and organized racing events in Switzerland. Her sister Monika also competed at the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Olympic Results

Athlete Olympic Results Content

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