HOT OFF THE WIRE

Blanca Fernández Ochoa: Spain's missing Winter Olympic medallist found dead

Blanca Fernández Ochoa: Spain's missing Winter Olympic medallist found dead

  • 4 September 2019
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Blanca Fernández Ochoa was the first Spanish woman to win a medal at the Winter Olympics

The body of former Spanish alpine skier Blanca Fernández Ochoa has been found after days of searches involving hundreds of police and volunteers.

Ms Fernández, 56, was discovered in a mountainous area near Madrid. She had been missing since 23 August.

The authorities are now investigating the cause of her death.

Ms Fernández was the first Spanish woman to win a medal at the Winter Olympics, capturing bronze in France's Albertville in 1992.

"It is a very sad day for Spanish sports," said María José Rienda, Spain's secretary of state for sports.

  • Winter Olympics: A guide to alpine skiing
  • Olympic medallist: 'Young girls want women to look up to'
  • Italy chosen to host 2026 Winter Olympics

The former skier's daughter, Olivia Fresneda, reported her mother's disappearance in late August.

On 1 September, a black Mercedes car that Ms Fernández was last seen driving was located in a town near Madrid.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hundreds of police and volunteers were involved in the search operation

A public appeal was then issued at the request of Ms Fernández's family.

The former skier, who was a keen hiker, left home without her phone and had not used her credit cards since she vanished, police sources told El Pais at the time.

Ms Fernández's body was found by a tracking dog on Wednesday.

Who is Blanca Fernández Ochoa?

Born in Madrid in 1963, Ms Fernández took part in four Winter Olympics between 1980 and 1992.

Image copyright Getty Images

In an interview in 2014, Ms Fernández said skiing had become an "obsession" - but admitted she preferred playing golf since retiring.

She was one of five siblings who competed at the Winter Olympics for the Spanish skiing team.

Her brother, Francisco Fernández Ochoa, was the first Spaniard to win a gold medal at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.