Henri Chammartin, 1964 Olympic Dressage Champion, Dies

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Henri Chammartin and Woermann at 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo

Olympic and European dressage champion Henri Chammartin of Switzerland died this week at the age of 92.

A legend in the dressage world, he competed in five consecutive Olympics–Helsinki 1952, Stockholm 1956, Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964, and Mexico 1968–winning five medals.

In his first Olympics in 1952, Chammartin was a member of the Swiss team that claimed team silver. He received his second Olympic medal, team bronze, in 1956.

Henri Chammartin became Olympic champion in 1964 when he also won his second team silver. He rode the 13-year-old Swedish-bred Woermann which had traveled to Tokyo only as a reserve horse to his stablemate and reigning European champion Wolfdietrich, which was lame.

Tokyo 1964 was the first Olympic Games to which horses were flown by aircraft. The Swiss team left from Amsterdam Sept. 28 at noon and arrived, with a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska, on Sept. 29 at 3 pm.

Henri Chammartin won his final Olympic medal, team bronze, in 1968 when he finished ninth individually. That year, he and fellow equestrian Gustav Fischer both became only the second Swiss athletes to have competed at five Olympic Games. Chammartin retired from international competition after the Mexico Games.

As a young man Chammartin loved music and played the violin. Always the artist, he placed more importance on the expression of the horse’s movements, preferring it to technical precision.