Olympic Legend Hans Winkler Passes Away

Credit : Archive

Monday 09 July - 12h26 | Stephanie Sieckmann

Olympic Legend Hans Winkler Passes Away

German show jumping legend Hans Gunter Winkler has passed away aged 91. In a world where the term legend is often used without real merit, Winkler was the definition of the word for many years in show jumping circles. He was one of the most decorated Olympians of all time of any nationality in any sport.

Not only by the number of his successes, but also by the way he has won his victories and titles, he made people talk about him. He became immortal through his rides in the saddle of miracle mare Halla, whom he met after Dr. Gustav Ra, the then head of the German Olympiade Committee for Cavalry (DOKR),  in 1950 brought  the mare to Warendorf.

With Halla, Winkler achieved athletic immortality. The horse, whom HGW said was "a mixture of genius and crazy goat," overcame injury to bring gold to Germany - a story that caused a worldwide sensation not just in show jumping. At the 1956 Olympic Games in Stockholm Winkler suffered in the first round of the Nations Cup a muscle tear in the groin. But he rode on bravely and secured Germany the only zero-fault ride of the day: gold for the team and single gold for Halla and Winkler. Halla and Winkler were in the course of their career together German champion, Derby winner, world champion and again Olympic champion. However, the mare did not remain the only horse with which HGW gained success. With seven other horses Hans Günter Winkler also achieved championship successes: at European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games. The list of his victories, titles and athletic achievements is long: Five Olympic gold medals, seven Olympic medals overall, two world titles and 105 Nations Cup appearances - no question: Hans Günter Winkler was an exceptional athlete in show jumping.

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