A star without airs and without graces

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From: Andrew Seiller


Two new honorary citizens of Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Rosi Mittermaier and Christian Neureuther received the certificates for this in 2019.
Two new honorary citizens of Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Rosi Mittermaier and Christian Neureuther received the certificates for this in 2019. © Very

Garmisch-Partenkirchen mourns the loss of Rosi Mittermaier: The ski resort has not only lost a skiing icon, but also a great figure. Friends and companions describe “Gold-Rosi”, who died at the age of 72 following a serious illness, as a down-to-earth, helpful and cordial person.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen – Modesty distinguishes Rosi Mittermaier. Her former coach Heinz Mohr, who helped her win two gold medals in the downhill and slalom at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, still remembers this quality well. “She never wanted to attract attention, she was more reserved,” reports the alpine ski expert, who lives in Mittenwald. “She had an incredible talent, a force of nature. You just had to attract them. And so the coach dug into his bag of tricks to lend his protege a hand – and, for example, clapped loudly and for ages at the all-important start. “It’s crazy how she exploded there.”

The career of the outstanding athlete, who was already on skis at the age of three, is impressive: the Munich native, who grew up on the idyllic Winklmoosalm above Reit im Winkl and found her home high school in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, managed to rise to the top of ski racing. Especially in the 1970s, “Gold-Rosi”, as her fans affectionately call her, was the outstanding German skier.

Rosi Mittermaier: Natural and down-to-earth style preserved

What many, especially her sports colleagues, appreciated about her: success never went to her head. She stayed true to herself, kept her natural and down-to-earth nature, was close to home and nature. A star without airs and without graces. For them, people mattered. Especially the family. She was the heart and soul of her family – and of a whole generation of skiers. “She was one of us”, we hear again and again in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Above all, its social side impressed the inhabitants of Werdenfelser Land. Rosi Mittermaier was fully committed to the good cause, whether for young athletes or the German Foundation for Children’s Rheumatism, to name just two examples. Commitment to health and exercise was also an issue close to his heart.

The consternation at his death, which surprised many, is great. At only 72 years old, the honorary citizen of the famous winter sports resort “died peacefully with her family following a serious illness”. This was announced by her husband Christian Neureuther and their two children Ameli and Felix Neureuther.

Ice hockey veteran Franz Reindl finds words haunting. “I was deeply shocked by the news. It allows everyday life to stop. It means an incredible loss, ”says the Garmisch-Partenkirchner, who knew Rosi Mittermaier well. In 1976 he also participated in the Olympic Games in the alpine republic – but with the national ice hockey team, which surprisingly won bronze as underdogs at the time. “He was a great person”, he continues – always cheerful and helpful And she “electrified” other athletes with her successes.

“It’s sad that she had to die so young”

“It’s sad that she had to die so young,” says Dr. Hans-Wolfgang Bär from Seehausen, brother-in-law of the deceased. In the 1970s, the orthopedist was the medical supervisor of the German women’s national ski team. Rosi Mittermaier was also one of his proteges. “He was an incredibly open person,” recalls the doctor.

Participation in the two ski clubs in the capital is also excellent. “Rosi has shaped the world of skiing in general and in the city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen,” says Martina Betz, president of the Garmisch Ski Club. “He was an extraordinary person.” Sounds like his colleague from Ski Club Partenkirchen, Michael Maurer. “She handled her success well,” he says.

Comparable tones can be heard from politics. “Rosi never made a fuss about himself,” Garmisch-Partenkirchen mayor Elisabeth Koch (CSU) told Bayerischer Rundfunk. “Bavaria is losing a great athlete and a passionate fighter for solidarity,” read a press release from Oberammergau resident Florian Streibl, who is the leader of the parliamentary group of free voters in the state parliament. And CSU Regional Group Leader Alexander Dobrindt, whose constituency the district belongs to, explains: “He was a cosmopolitan person whose warm social commitment as well as his commitment to his loved ones and to sport was unparalleled.”

By the way: everything from the region is also available in our regular GAP newsletter.

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