Longtime world ski president Gian Franco Kasper dies at 77, month after leaving FIS

The Associated Press

Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation, speaks during a press conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Feb. 19, 2017.
Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP

OBERHOFEN, Switzerland — Gian Franco Kasper, who retired after 23 years as president of the International Ski Federation last month, has died, the governing body said on Saturday. He was 77.

The cause of Kasper’s death was not given.

He had not taken part in the FIS election meeting on June 4 that saw 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,” FIS said in a statement.

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.”

Kasper’s frank and sometimes indiscreet views 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.

His comments in interviews on subjects including climate change, the cost of corruption in organizing the 2014 Sochi Olympics and citing the Holocaust in the context of punishing Russian athletes for the state doping scandal all led to clarifications.

Kasper, a Swiss former journalist and tourism official from St. Moritz, 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.