|Disciplines||downhill, Giant Slalom,|
|Born||5 December 1925|
|Died||7 October 1962 (aged 36)|
|Retired||1952 (age 26)|
|Teams||2 – (1948, 1952)|
|Medals||3 (2 gold)|
|Teams||3 – (1948, 1950, 1952)|
|Medals||3 (2 gold)|
Henri Jean Auguste Oreiller (5 December 1925 – 7 October 1962) was an alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from France. He won two gold medals and a bronze at the 1948 Winter Olympics, becoming the most successful athlete those Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Born in Paris, the son of Léon Oreiller, of Italian origin, and Marguerite Favre, from Savoie. His parents lived in Paris and frequented Val d'Isère for holidays. Oreiller was a member of Section Eclairuers Skieurs, a specialist skiing section of the French Resistance during World War II. After the liberation of Paris he fought in the Alps in an elite winter combat unit of the French Army.
Nicknamed the "Parisian of Val d'Isère" or the "madman of downhill", he was the inaugural downhill gold medallist at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics, with a record margin of four seconds over the runner-up. His medals cache included: the gold medal in the combined event, and the bronze medal in the special slalom. He missed one of his medal ceremonies because he was playing accordion in a local bar, and received his medal a week later.
He competed in the 1950 World Championships at Aspen and finished fourth in the new event, the giant slalom. At the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Oreiller was 14th in the downhill and 16th in the giant slalom.
Obsessed with speed, Oreiller retired from ski racing in 1952 at age 26 to take up motor racing. Ten years later, he had a racing car accident which took his life on 7 October 1962. A tire blowout at 100 mph (160 km/h) caused his Ferrari to flip at the Linas-Montlhéry autodrome and he later died at Hôpital Cochin in Paris.
At his shrine at Val d'Isère, where he is interred next to his wife, testimonies from around the world bear witness to his abilities.
- Winner of the Harriman Cup in 1949 in Sun Valley in the U.S., in downhill, slalom, and combined.
- Champion of France in special slalom in 1947.
- Champion of France in "touring" category in 1959.
- Tour de France 1959, winner on points.
- Lyon-Carbonniere Rallye in 1960 and 1961.
- ^ "Motorsport Memorial - Henri Oreiller". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
- ^ a b c d Henri Oreiller Archived 28 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Sports Reference
- ^ "Race driver dies in French crash". Wilmington (NC) Morning Star. UPI. 8 October 1962. p. 10.
- ^ "French ski aces garner Harriman Cups by sweeping slalom events". Deseret News. INS. 28 March 1949. p. B-2.
- ^ "French skiers win Harriman Cup races". Lewiston Daily Sun. UPI. 28 March 1949. p. 8.
- Henri Oreiller at the International Ski and Snowboard Federation
- Henri Oreiller at the International Olympic Committee
- Encyclopædia Britannica – Henri Oreiller
- Henri Oreiller at Find a Grave
- 1925 births
- 1962 deaths
- Sportspeople from Paris
- French Resistance members
- French military personnel of World War II
- French male alpine skiers
- Olympic alpine skiers for France
- Olympic gold medalists for France
- Olympic bronze medalists for France
- Alpine skiers at the 1948 Winter Olympics
- Alpine skiers at the 1952 Winter Olympics
- Racing drivers who died while racing
- Sport deaths in France
- French racing drivers
- 24 Hours of Le Mans drivers
- Olympic medalists in alpine skiing
- World Sportscar Championship drivers
- Medalists at the 1948 Winter Olympics
- Racing drivers from Paris