What gave the baby name Hanni a boost in 1980?

Olympic skier Hanni Wenzel
Hanni Wenzel

The name Hanni first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1976. When it popped up again four years later, it was given to nearly three dozen baby girls:

  • 1982: 10 baby girls named Hanni
  • 1981: 15 baby girls named Hanni
  • 1980: 34 baby girls named Hanni [peak usage]
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: 8 baby girls named Hanni [debut]
  • 1975: unlisted
  • 1974: unlisted

What’s the influence here?

Alpine skier Hannelore “Hanni” Wenzel, who twice represented the tiny country of Liechtenstein at the Olympics.

At the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, she won her country’s very first Olympic medal, a bronze in the slalom.

At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, she became her country’s first Olympic champion by winning gold in both the slalom and the giant slalom. She also won silver in the downhill.

Hanni’s four medals represent 40% of Liechtenstein’s total 10 Olympic medals — all of which were won in alpine skiing. Two more were won by her brother, Andreas “Andi” Wenzel, and the most recent was won by her daughter, Christina “Tina” Weirather, in 2018.

Hanni was born in West Germany, but relocated with her family to Liechtenstein when she was a child.

The German name Hannelore (pronounced ha-nuh-lo-ruh) is a combination of Hanne, a diminutive of Johanna, and Lore, a diminutive of Eleonore, the German spelling of Eleanor.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Hanni? (Do you like it more or less than Hannelore?)


One thought on “What gave the baby name Hanni a boost in 1980?

  1. To me Hanni sounds way too cutesy. Maybe as a nickname for a toddler I can see it, but after about age 4 or 5 it’s just, well, cutesy, and I definitely do not like as the actual name regardless of age. I think Hannelore or Hannah are both nice names.

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