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Sapporo Winter Olympics - Karl Schranz Disqualification Press Conference
Alpine Skiing - 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics - Karl Schranz Disqualification Press Conference
International Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage announces to the world's press that Austrian skier Karl Schranz is disqualified from the Sapporo Games for breaching the Olympic amateur eligibility code by 'allowing his name and photograph to be used for advertising purposes'.
Brundage was the fifth President of the IOC, serving from 1952 to 1972, and is the only American to hold the position.
Schranz, the 1969 and 1970 overall World Cup champion, was the most celebrated, and highly paid, skier of the time. He did not deny the accusation but contended that he was being punished for a crime that all athletes of the day were guilty of: 'It's an emphasis on the wrong principle. I think the Olympics should be a contest for all sportsman with no regard of colour, race, or wealth.'
The entire Austrian team threatened to boycott in solidarity, and on flying home to Vienna Schranz was greeted as a hero by a crowd of tens of thousands. Further adding insult to injury was that, at the age of 33, he had specifically delayed his retirement in order to win an Olympic gold medal, the only honour in international skiing that he had not won and which had eluded him in three previous Games. At Grenoble four years earlier he had been controversially disqualified for an on-piste incident while in first place in the slalom.
That Schranz was indeed made a scapegoat seems beyond debate. Brundage was a zealous advocate of amateurism throughout his entire career and fought against the commercialisation of the Olympic Games, even as this came to be seen as incongruous with the realities of modern sport. He viewed alpine skiing as the most flagrant violator of the amateur rules, openly and rampantly commercial with its top competitors receiving endorsements and flying around the World Cup circuit in a jet-set lifestyle while brandishing ski equipment emblazoned with manufactu