In Memoriam: FEI pays tribute to legendary Jumping athlete William “Bill” Steinkraus (USA) 

8 Dec 2017

William “Bill” Steinkraus, the five-time Olympian and USA’s first jumping individual gold medalist passed away on 29 November at the age of 92 surrounded by his family.

At his 1952 Olympic Games debut in Helsinki, Steinkraus helped Team USA to win team Jumping bronze, and went on to secure team Jumping silver at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

It was at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City that Steinkraus made history as the first American to win an individual gold medal in Jumping on the ex-race horse Snowbound.

Steinkraus rounded off his Olympic medal winning career at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich where he helped Team USA to win silver yet again.

After retiring from competing in 1972, he stayed heavily involved in equestrian sport as a judge, TV commentator, clinician, coach and author, and for 17 years was the Chef d’Equipe of the U.S. Jumping Team.

He was also a founding member of the United States Equestrian Team Foundation (USET) and served as president and chairman of the organisation for two decades, and as Chairman Emeritus for the past 25 years.

“Bill Steinkraus was more than an incredibly talented horseman; his impeccable style and skill in the saddle made him an idol and icon of his time. He gave so much to the sport and to the FEI over the years by serving on the FEI Bureau and the FEI World Cup Jumping Committee. His advice could always be relied upon. He was a true gentleman who enriched the lives of all those who were fortunate to have known him. We have lost a dear friend and are deeply saddened by his passing. Our heartfelt condolences to his family, to the USEF and to the entire equestrian community”, said John Roche, FEI Director, Jumping.  

“Bill Steinkraus has left a lasting impression on U.S. show jumping and equestrian sport, not solely because of his accomplishments inside the ring, but also for giving back to the sport he loved,” said USEF President Murray Kessler.

“He will forever be admired for his impeccable riding ability and talent in the show ring, as well as the commitment he gave to the sport for over five decades as a judge, director at the American Horse Shows Association (now USEF), and president of the FEI World Cup Committee.”

The full press release from the United States Equestrian Federation is here: www.usef.org/media/press-releases/us-equestrian-mourns-loss-of-legendary-show

To learn more about Bill Steinkraus’ extraordinary life and career see here.

William “Bill” Steinkraus, the five-time Olympian and USA’s first jumping individual gold medalist, passed away on 29 November at the age of 92 surrounded by his family. (USEF Archives)

William “Bill” Steinkraus, the five-time Olympian and USA’s first jumping individual gold medalist, passed away on 29 November at the age of 92 surrounded by his family. (USEF Archives)

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