Karl Erb - Swiss journalist, Olympic official

Passing Date

Karl Erb, the leading sports commentator on Swiss television for two decades, died September 5 at age 92.

Erb grew up in Zurich and began writing about sports for a variety of newspapers beginning in 1946. He covered Formula 1 racing, soccer and equestrian events, but became best known for reporting on all forms of skiing competition. From 1962 to 1981 he was the live-action commentator on international ski racing for Swiss television, and is best remembered for calling Bernhard Russi’s 1970 downhill World Championship run at Val Gardena. Russi later became Erb’s broadcast-booth partner.

As a leader in the sportswriting community, Erb served as a press officer and director of Switzerland’s ski-racing and equestrian organizations. After retiring from television he wrote a number of books, specializing in biographies of top Swiss skiers, and was a senior executive for the National Elite Sports Committee and the Swiss Olympic Committee.

In his last years, Erb suffered from macular degeneration and heart disease. He moved to Muralto, at the head of Lake Maggiore in Italy’s Italian-speaking “riviera.” Though nearly blind, he continued to follow and editorialize about skiing.

At the height of his TV career, Erb married Sylvia Zimmermann, 1963 World Champion in slalom and combined (and silver medalist in GS). He is survived by their daughter Andrea, who cared for him during his final illness.