Hanni Wenzel



Liechtenstein's Olympic Champion


Hanni Wenzel was born in Germany and moved to tiny Liechtenstein (population 25,000) when she was one year old. At the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics she won a bronze medal in the slalom. In Lake Placid, in 1980, she entered all three women's Alpine skiing events and performed better in each one. In the downhill she earned a silver medal.

In the giant slalom she recorded the fastest time of the first run and the third fastest of the second run to win the gold medal by 46 hundredths of a second. Two days later she breezed through the slalom, registering the best time in each of the two runs. Hanni's brother, Andreas, won the silver medal in the downhill to give Liechtenstein four medals: one for every 6,250 people. If the United States had won the same number of medals per capita, it would have won 36,000 medals. In fact, there were only 114 medals awarded.