Tributes Continue After Death of Former Head of International Ski Federation
11th July 2021
Last modified on July 18th, 2021
Gian Franco Kasper has died at the age of 77. He was admitted to hospital early last month during a FIS Congress to elect his successor. UPDATED
He had been President of FIS for 23 years.
Tributes were paid at the time of him being taken to hospital with respiratory problems and the International Ski Federation has released details of his death.
Here is the organisation’s full statement:
“It is with a heavy heart that FIS announces its former President Gian Franco Kasper has passed away.
“Kasper served FIS for 46 years, including the last 23 years as the FIS President.
“He retired from that role a little more than a month ago before his successor, Johan Eliasch, was elected at the 52nd International Ski Congress on 4th June.
“Just days before the Congress Kasper, 77, was admitted the hospital, where he remained until he passed away on Friday evening.”
FIS have released this video tribute.
“Gian Franco Kasper was unique in the international sports community,” said Johan Eliasch, the newly elected President of the International Ski Federation.
“He built FIS from a small federation, to the undisputed leader in winter sports, a testament to his vision and work ethic.
“I had the privilege of knowing Gian Franco for 25 years and shared many fond moments and stories with him.
“His understated nature and his quick wit will be deeply missed within FIS and the international sports world.
“On behalf of the entire FIS family, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Kasper family”.
His term as President of FIS included included five Olympic Winter Games:
- Salt Lake City 2002
- Turin 2006
- Vancouver 2010
- Sochi 2014
- PyeongChang 2018
He was the IOC Coordination Commissions for the upcoming 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
“For the entire Olympic Movement and for me, Gian-Franco Kasper was the personification of modern ski sport,” said the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.
“His achievements go far beyond his own sport and his own federation.
“With all the reforms and adaptations in the past years under his leadership, he also changed the Olympic Winter Games.
“In all of this, he was always authentic.
“Nothing is more authentic than success, and the Olympic Movement has greatly benefited from Gian-Franco Kasper’s success.”
As a mark of respect, the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast at Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) has also paid tribute to Kasper.
“Gian-Franco Kasper was a good friend to so many of us in the Olympic Movement,” said ANOC secretary general Gunilla Lindberg.
“As President of FIS he did so much for the development of skiing but also winter sport at large and the Olympic Winter Games.
“During his excellent career he oversaw good cooperation between FIS and the NOCs which ultimately benefited his sport and the Olympic Movement.
“As chair of the Pyeongchang 2018 Coordination Commission I had the honour of working very closely with him and seeing first-hand his passion for winter sport.
“His passing will be felt by all of us and he will be dearly missed.
“ANOC’s thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Bernhard Aregger, CEO of Swiss Ski has also paid tribute to Kasper.
“We mourn loss of a great snow sports personality and will always honour the memory of Gian Franco Kasper,” he said.
Kasper was a member of the International Olympic Committee from 2000-2018 and was a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2003.
He was President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) and was an IOC Executive Member from 2016-2018.
At the IOC Session in Buenos Aries in the Fall 2018, he received the Olympic Order and was named an IOC Honorary Member.
Kasper was a GAISF/SportAccord Council Member and Vice-President of the IOC Olympic Channel Services.
He served as Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the first edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck 2012 and was a member of the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer 2016.
He was occasionally a controversial character with his frank and sometimes indiscreet views – for example on climate change in a Swiss newspaper interview in 2019.
Kasper had a competitive sporting career in alpine and cross-country skiing, skeleton, bobsleigh, equestrian and water skiing.
He began as a journalist after a degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Journalism from the University of Zurich.
He wrote for a number of newspapers and became editor of the St Moritz Kurier newspaper in 1969.
He learned about administration when involved with several FIS World Cups at the resort.
In 1974 at the FIS Alpine World Championships in St Moritz he was head of publicity
He also worked at a bobsleigh World Championship.
Kasper was married and had one son.
He lived in Thun in Switzerland.