Drawing: Jean-Claude Killy

Autographed drawing of alpine skier Jean-Claude Killy

One of the greatest alpine skiers of all-time is Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy. I was reminded of this fact during the coverage of this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.

He dominated the sport in the late 1960’s, which included a clean sweep of the 1968 Olympic alpine events in Grenoble winning three golds, in the downhill, giant slalom and slalom. He also won two World Cup titles and six World Championship gold medals. I grew up watching him compete and later was a big fan of his two television series including THE KILLY CHALLENGE.

In one episode he skied down the eastern slope of the previously unskied down the side of Mt Ngauruhoe a volcano in my home country New Zealand. For LORD OF THE RINGS fans it’s the mountain used by Peter Jackson to represent Mt Doom in the screen adaption of the Tolkien trilogy. On the 35 degree slope he reached speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Jean-Claude won his first International event at the age of 18 and was included in the French team the 1962 World Championships. Unaware of his selection, he was still trying to qualify at an event in the north of Italy. On his final run, in typical reckless style he hit an ice sheet, before the finishing line, which propelled him into the air, landing on one ski, but crossing the line with the fastest time and the other leg broken. He watched the World Championships on crutches.

During this year’s Games, his name repeatedly came up in the TV commentary, so I suddenly thought I must get him to sign a drawing and quickly sent him this sketch at his home base in Geneva. He returned it within a week signed and dedicated.

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Drawing: Marcel Hirscher

Autographed drawing of skiier Marcel Hirsher

Austrian Marcel Hirscher is considered the best alpine skier… ever. With a record seven consecutive World Cup titles and six World Championship gold medals he has dominated the sport like no other in the slalom-giant and combined. At this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea he won both the combined and giant slalom titles to consolidate his status. After which I quickly drew this sketch and sent it to Marcel at his Austrian base. Even quicker than his downhill run it came back signed and dedicated.

Drawing: Ester Ledecka

Autographed drawing of snowboarder and skiier Ester Ledecka

Twenty-two year old Czech snowboarder and alpine skier Ester Ledecka made history at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyongyang, South Korea, becoming the first person to not only compete in snowboarding and skiing, but to win titles on two different types of equipment at the same Olympics. Known for her snowboarding prowess, the double World Champion was favoured to win the gold in the Parallel Giant Slalom and duly did so.

However, with a ranking of 49 in the Super-G Alpine Ski event and not having medalled in any international ski event previously, expectations were less ambitious. But her 21.11 second run was enough to sneak past defending champion Anna Veith from Austria by 0.01 seconds to stun the skiing world and win her second gold medal in her Olympic debut.

I quickly drew this montage and sent it to her when she returned to a hero’s welcome in her home town of Prague after the Olympics and it came back signed yesterday, along with an info card, also signed.