Show jumping gold medalist Bill Steinkraus died Nov. 29
- By SARA CAVANAGH
This country's first equestrian gold medalist, William "Bill" Steinkraus, died on Nov. 29 at the age of 92.
Five-time Olympian, four-time medal winner and first U.S. equestrian individual medalist, editor, author, expert violinist, staunch friend and above all a gentleman, Steinkraus had one of the most decorated equestrian careers in U.S. history.
He passed away surrounded by his family and loved ones.
"Billy was an incredible mentor for me," said George Morris, who, along with Frank Chapot, rode on the 1960 team in the Rome Olympics that won a silver medal. "Frank and Billy were completely different, but I learned so much from each of them."
"Billy was an historian and a theorist," said Morris. "He was a perfectionist and a purist. He knew the history and the nuances of horsemanship."
"Billy was very strong minded, but he was also very sensitive," said Morris. "He was very well educated and always a gentleman."
"Billy and Bert (deNemethy, this country's first civilian coach after the military disbanded the cavalry) changed jumpers in this country," said Morris.
Prior to Steinkraus and deNemethy, jumpers were scored on touches as well as knockdowns, and jumper riders were a rough lot.