Spanish police hunt for missing Olympic medallist

Blanca Fernandez Ochoa, an Olympic bronze medallist, was reported missing on 23 AugustImage copyright
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Blanca Fernandez Ochoa, an Olympic bronze medallist, was reported missing on 23 August

Blanca Fernandez Ochoa, the first Spanish woman to win a medal at the Winter Olympics, has been reported missing.

The former alpine skier, 56, disappeared more than a week ago, Spain’s national police said.

Officials said on Sunday that a black Mercedes A-Class car that Ms Fernandez was last seen driving has been located in a town near Madrid.

But police are still working to locate Ms Fernandez herself.

A public appeal was issued at the request of Ms Fernandez’s family, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

The former skier’s daughter, Olivia Fresneda, who reported her mother’s disappearance on 23 August, is “very worried”, the paper reports.

Ms Fernandez left home without her phone and has not used her credit cards since she vanished, police sources told El Pais.

Detectives, who have reportedly been looking for Ms Fernandez for seven days, are yet to find any trace of her.

Who is Blanca Fernandez Ochoa?

Born in Madrid in 1963, Ms Fernandez took part in four Winter Olympics between 1980 and 1992.

She was Spain’s first female Winter Olympic medallist, winning the bronze in the slalom in the 1992 games at Albertville, France.

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Ms Fernandez skis downhill during the women’s slalom at the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, in 1992

In an interview in 2014, Ms Fernandez said skiing had become an “obsession” but admitted she preferred playing golf since retiring.

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

Her brother, Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, was the first Spaniard to win a gold medal at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Japan.

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