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Skier AJ Ginnis Makes History Winning Silver for Greece in World Cup Slalom

skier Alexandros Ioannis Ginnis
Alexandros Ioannis Ginnis representing Greece won the silver medal in the men’s World Cup slalom. Credit: Instagram/AJ Ginnis

Greek skier Alexandros Ioannis Ginnis won the silver medal in the men’s World Cup slalom in Chamonix, France on Saturday.

The skier made history by becoming the first Greek athlete to win a medal in the history of the popular event.

The 29-year-old Greek champion finished behind Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhaeusern, who claimed the gold by clocking a winning aggregate time of 1min 42.94sec.

Ginnis, who moved to the US at the age of 15 and raced for his adopted country before switching allegiance, laid down the fastest second run to bag second place, at 1.02sec, and a historic result for Greece.

It was a remarkable result for the Athens-born skier, who started with a lowly number 45 and whose previous best was 11th place in the Flachau slalom this season.

Skier’s career disrupted by injury

His career, which started on some snowy slopes in central Greece, has been massively disrupted by injury, not least six knee operations, the most recent of which saw him deprived of representing the country of his birth at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

“This is a dream,” said Ginnis, born to a Greek father and an American mother.

“It was always a crazy dream of ours to be the first Greek on the podium, for it to finally happen is just unbelievable with so many hurdles, so many surgeries.”

Ginnis added: “The US team, credit to them, made me the skier I am today, but unfortunately with all my injuries I really needed a special treatment.

“With six surgeries, I just needed to look at things differently and skiing for Greece allowed me to do that.”

Ginnis grew up in the seaside suburb of Vouliagmeni

Ginnis grew up in the seaside suburb of Vouliagmeni. His father ran a ski school and that was where he met his American wife.

Young Alexandros started skiing at Mt. Parnassus as a toddler, at the age of just two. When he was 12, Alexandros moved to Austria, where his father worked as a ski instructor. It was then that the young skier decided to make his fun pastime a potential career.

Ginnis was 15 when his family decided to move to the United States, where he was enrolled at the Green Mountain Valley School in Vermont, where he improved his skiing skills. Two years later, he became a member of the U.S. team. He later switched to the Greek team.

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