Gian Franco Kasper, who was the International Ski Federation President from 1998 to 2021, passed away on Saturday at seventy-seven years old. Kasper served as President of the International Ski Federation, as well as being a member of the International Olympic Committee, and was a board member of the World Anti-Doping Agency. On Monday, the International Ski Federation released a video celebrating his life and many accomplishments while being a part of the governing body for skiing and snowboarding.
ESPN reports that Kasper started his career as a journalist at the St. Moritz Kurier, and would then become a tourism official for St. Moritz. He started working with the International Ski Federation in the 1970s, got appointed Secretary-General in 1975, and then became President in 1998. His term lasted until June 2021, where he had to resign due to health-related reasons. He was a member of the Internation Olympic Committee from 2000 to 2018, and then received honorary member status of the Olympic Order. He also was a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency from 2003 to 2021. He was replaced as President of the International Ski Federation by Johan Eliasch in June.
Gian Franco Kasper was often outspoken at times, as he made remarks that were often controversial. In February 2019, Kasper made comments stating he preferred to work with dictatorships over environmentalists. In the same interview, he questioned the legitimacy of climate change. He would later apologize for the remarks and said they were not made to be taken seriously. In 2005, he said he opposed the introduction of female ski jumping because “it seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view.” The sport would later be introduced at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Kasper would eventually correct his statements. You can read more of his interesting comments here. In spite of his stupid comments at times, Gian’s legacy was helping grow skiing and snowboarding into global sports.
Image Credits: International Ski Federation