Grenoble 1968

Games History

The 1968 Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France. For the first time the Games were broadcast in colour and there was the appearance of a non-official mascot called "Schuss". He was portrayed as a little cartoon-like character on skis. Norway was the most successful nation, winning six gold medals.

French hero Jean-Claude Killy matched the 1956 triple gold alpine skiing feat of Austria’s Tony Sailer by winning the downhill, slalom and giant slalom. His hat-trick featured one of the greatest controversies in the history of the Winter Olympics. Killy’s rival, Karl Schranz of Austria, claimed that a mysterious man in black crossed his path during the slalom race, causing him to skid to a halt. Given a restart, Schranz beat Killy’s time. However, a Jury of Appeal disqualified Schranz and gave the victory to Killy. The Frenchman remains one of the most admired Olympic champions in history.

The women’s luge also sparked controversy when three East German entrants, who had finished first, second and fourth, were disqualified for heating their runners, prompting their officials to complain of a “capitalist revanchist plot”. 

Sweden’s Toini Gustafsson won the women’s 10km cross-country event by more than one minute. In the 5km event, Gustafsson was four seconds behind the leader with a kilometre to go but accelerated to score another victory. She completed her Olympic career by leading Sweden to second place in the relay.

For the first time, a non-Scandinavian, Italy’s Franco Nones, captured a Nordic skiing title, winning the men’s 30km freestyle cross-country event. Canadian alpine skier Nancy Green claimed the giant slalom gold, zigzagging through the gates at phenomenal speed.

The United States’ only gold medal was won by the figure skater, Peggy Fleming, who wore a costume stitched together by her mother. Fleming remains one of the most popular figure skating champions of the Games.