In Memoriam: Henri Chammartin (SUI), 1918-2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Olympic and European Dressage champion Henri Chammartin (SUI) passed away this week at the age of 92. A legend in the Dressage world, he competed in five consecutive editions of the Olympic Games – Helsinki 1952, Stockholm 1956, Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964, and Mexico 1968 – winning a total of five medals.
During his first Olympic participation in 1952, Chammartin was a member of the Swiss team that claimed team silver. He received his second Olympic medal – a team bronze – in 1956.
Henri Chammartin became Olympic champion in 1964 and also won his second team silver that year. He rode the 13-year-old Swedish-bred Woermann which had travelled to Tokyo only as a reserve horse to his stablemate and reigning European champion Wolfdietrich, which was unfortunately lame.
Tokyo 1964 was the first Olympic Games to which horses were flown by aircraft. The Swiss team departed from Amsterdam on 28 September at noon and arrived, with a stop-over in Anchorage, Alaska, on 29 September at 3pm.
Henri Chammartin won his final Olympic medal – a 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 Olympic 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.
The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to the family of Henri Chammartin and to the Swiss equestrian community.
Photo caption: Henri Chammartin (SUI) and Woermann during their winning test at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games