Blanca Fernández Ochoa

Spain's missing Winter Olympic medallist found dead

In Summary

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

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

Blanca Fernández Ochoa was the first Spanish woman to win a medal at the Winter Olympics
Blanca Fernández Ochoa was the first Spanish woman to win a medal at the Winter Olympics
Image: GETTY IMAGES

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.

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.

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

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: 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.