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Franziska Rochat-Moser, marathon runner, dies after Alpine accident

Franziska RochatMoser, marathon runner, dies after Alpine accident
Nathalie Ogi (AP)
8 March 2002 – Lausanne, Switzerland - Franziska Rochat-Moser, winner of the 1997 New York Marathon, died Thursday, a day after an accident in the Swiss Alps. She was 35. 

Rochat-Moser was carried away by a snowslide while skiing and climbing near to the resort of Les Diablerets on Wednesday afternoon. She was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Lausanne but died shortly before 7 p.m. (1800 GMT) Thursday, Vaud cantonal (state) police said.  Rochat-Moser was climbing when a snow ledge collapsed under her weight near the 2,340-meter (7,670-foot) La Para peak, police she said. She fell some 700 meters (2,300 feet), police said.

Born August 17, 1966, Rochat-Moser was a lawyer by profession but gave up her career when she married chef Philippe Rochat to help him run the gourmet L’Hotel de Ville restaurant in her hometown of Crissier. The restaurant is one of the most prestigious in Switzerland.  She retired from competitive running in July of last year following a hip operation.

The most successful marathon runner in Swiss history, Rochat-Moser began her athletic career in orienteering, before taking up marathon running.

She won the Swiss championships in 1989 and the 1994 Frankfurt Marathon. But the high point of her career was the unexpected victory in the 1997 New York Marathon, a victory that made her a household name in Switzerland.  “Winning the New York City marathon changed my life,” she told The Associated Press shortly before the 1998 event.

Rochat-Moser also came second in the 1999 Boston Marathon and competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.