Guy proves unlikely homegrown hero for France
The host nation did not have too many opportunities to cheer local heroes on the podium in Albertville. Enter Fabrice Guy. Four years earlier in Calgary he had finished a rather unremarkable 20th in the Nordic combined . His sport did not traditionally enjoy a huge following in his native France, and his exploits had received only a modest amount of coverage.
But going into the Albertville Games, Guy had hit his best ever run of form, winning four out of five World Cup events. Suddenly he found himself heading towards his home Olympics as the surprise favourite for gold.
Guy came from the small town of Mouthe in Eastern France and was not used to being the focus of so much attention. In Albertville, he was cheered on by big and passionate crowds, with half the population of his home town reportedly travelling to the Games to lend their support. His greatest challenger appeared to be the Austrian Klaus Sulzenbacher, who was considered a superior jumper but a weaker skier. Sure enough, Sulzenbacher earned an impressive 221.6 points for his jump, but Guy didn't just keep pace with him – he scored half a point more!
That meant he started the skiing section in third place, 42.7 seconds behind the leader, another Austrian, Klaus Ofner. It didn't take long for Guy to move into the overall lead, and once he did, he could not be dislodged, setting the fifth fastest time in the skiing section and crossing the line 48 seconds ahead of the field.
Adding to the sense of jubilation among the home crowd, coming home behind him was not Sulzenbacher, but another French athlete, Sylvain Guillaume. Suddenly, Nordic combined had found a place in the heart of every French Olympic fan.
Guy could not repeat his success at future Games, coming 17
two years later in Lillehammer and just 29
at Nagano 1998, though he did take a bronze in the team event.