Woman’s Body in Spain Identified as Missing Olympic Skier

By The Associated Press

MADRID—Spanish police found the body of former alpine ski racer and Olympic medalist Blanca Fernández Ochoa in a mountainous area near Madrid on Sept. 4 after days of searching for her.

Police said a tracking dog came across a woman’s body near a peak in the forested area.

Security forces with a searching dog walk back to the search coordination center
Security forces search for Spanish athlete Blanca Fernández Ochoa at Las Dehesas near Cercedilla, in Madrid province, Spain, on Sept. 2, 2019 (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Unidentified police sources told Spanish private news agency Europa Press the body was the 56-year-old Fernández’s, Spain’s first female Winter Olympic medalist.

Police wait near a woodland area in Cercedilla
Police wait near a woodland area in Cercedilla, just outside Madrid, Spain, on Sept. 3, 2019. (Paul White/AP Photo)

She won a bronze skiing for Spain in the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville.

Friends of her family at the scene confirmed the identification of her body to public broadcaster TVE, and politicians sent condolences on Twitter.

Police declined to confirm the identification to The Associated Press, saying formal procedures had to be followed before an official announcement was made.

Fernández was last spotted on surveillance video at a shopping mall on Aug. 24.

Blanca Fernandez Ochoa attends the premiere of "Las 13 Rosas"at Kinepolis cinema
Blanca Fernández Ochoa attends the premiere of “Las 13 Rosas”at Kinepolis cinema in Madrid, Spain, on Oct. 18, 2007. (Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

More than 200 police officers on foot and horseback, firefighters, forest rangers, and hundreds of volunteers had combed the steep pine-forested area for days looking for Fernández.

Volunteers walks with a civil guard and a police officer after searching
Volunteers walk with a civil guard and a police officer after searching in woodland area in Cercedilla, just outside Madrid, Spain, on Sept. 3, 2019. (Paul White/AP Photo)

By Aritz Parra