Alexander Zhirov – Soviet skier
Alexander Zhirov was a Soviet skier, master of sports of international class, repeated champion of the USSR, winner of 4 World Cup. He specialized in slalom and giant slalom.
Alexander was born on September 12, 1958 in Dedenevo, Moscow region, USSR.
He began downhill skiing in the village Shukolovo, not far from his native village Dedenevo. Valentin Shirokov was his first coach. At the age of 15 Alexander joined CSKA, where his coach was Victor Talyanov. As a part of the USSR national team he was trained by Leonid Tyagachev.
Zhirov made his debut in the World Cup on February 7, 1979 in Oslo and took 23th place.
On January 8, 1980 in the Bavarian Lenggries on the slalom track 21-year-old Soviet newcomer was able to take the second place. Zhirov was ahead of such famous skiers like Ingemar Stenmark, Phil Mare Gustav Tony, Andreas Wenzel.
In February 1980, at the Olympic Games in Lake Placid, Alexander took the 9th place in the giant slalom.
After the Winter Olympics 1980 Zhirov continued his successful performance in the World Cup. In the US and Canada, Alexander was among the 10 best sportsmen in the slalom and giant slalom, and on March 10 he became the second in the Italian Cortina d’Ampezzo.
On December 10, 1980 in the Italian Madonna di Campiglio, Alexander was the second in the giant slalom.
In January-February 1981 Zhirov was among the 10 best in slalom and giant slalom on the slopes of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Norway.
On March 14, 1981 in the Japanese Furano Zhirov finally became a winner at the World Cup.
Tsyganov’s victory and four Alexander’s victories became known as “24 days of Russian miracle”. These victories remained the first and only for the Soviet Union at the World Cup.
The Soviet skiers had an agreement with the sponsor, the French company Rossignol, the one who won the first round of the World Cup, would receive a Volvo car. Valery Tsyganov won the first stage in Aspen, but then Zhirov won 4 stages and finished third in the overall. As a result, they decided to award Zhirov with the car. Tsyganov got stereo system.
On May 18, 1983, Alexander was drinking with friends, and then the four of them decided to ride a car. Near the village Shukolovo the car fell into a deep ravine.
Alexander Zhirov died on May 18, 1983 in Shukolovo, Moscow region, USSR. He was only 24 years old.