Swiss former world ski president Kasper dies at 77

Gian Franco Kasper as seen in 2019 Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

The Swiss Gian Franco Kasper, recently retired after 23 years as president of the International Ski Federation (FIS), has died, the governing body said on Saturday. He was 77.

This content was published on July 10, 2021

The cause of Kasper’s death was not given. He had not taken part in the FIS election meeting on June 4 that saw the Swedish Johan Eliasch elected as his successor.

“Just days before the congress Kasper … was admitted to the hospital, where he remained until he passed away on Friday evening,” the Swiss-based FIS said in a statement.External link

Kasper was praised by Eliasch for guiding FIS “from a small federation, to the undisputed leader in winter sports, a testament to his vision and work ethic”. Eliasch also cited Kasper's “understated nature and his quick wit".

Swiss Sports Minister Viola Amherd tweetedExternal link that "Switzerland had lost an excellent sports official who left a long-term and internationally important mark on our national sport of skiing and who fought for sports promotion".

Bernhard Aregger, CEO of Swiss Ski, the Swiss ski federation, 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 was quotedExternal link as saying.

Kasper’s frank and sometimes indiscreet views – for example on climate change in a Swiss newspaper interviewExternal link in 2019 - made him stand out within the International Olympic Committee, where he was a member for 18 years and served in its executive board representing winter sports, AP reported.

A former journalist and tourism official from St. Moritz, Kasper worked for FIS for almost five decades.

He was the world ski body’s general secretary from the 1970s until he was elected president in 1998.

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