William Clark "Bill" Steinkraus (October 12, 1925 – November 29, 2017) was an American show jumping champion.[1][2]

William Steinkraus
Personal information
Birth nameWilliam Clark Steinkraus
Born(1925-10-12)October 12, 1925
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedNovember 29, 2017(2017-11-29) (aged 92)
Medal record
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1968 Mexico City Individual jumping
Silver medal – second place 1960 Rome Team jumping
Silver medal – second place 1972 Munich Team jumping
Bronze medal – third place 1952 Helsinki Team jumping
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1959 Chicago Individual jumping
Gold medal – first place 1959 Chicago Team jumping
Gold medal – first place 1963 São Paulo Team jumping
Silver medal – second place 1967 Winnipeg Team jumping

Steinkraus participated in five Olympic Games.[1] At the 1968 Summer Olympics, held in Mexico City, he won a gold medal in individual jumping with the horse, Snowbound.[3] He obtained two silver medals in Team Jumping, first in 1960 on his mount, Ksar d'Espirt, and 1972 on Main Spring. Steinkraus also won a bronze medal in Team Jumping at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland on Hollandia. He was also slated to ride on the 1964 Olympic Team until his horse, Sinjon, was injured.[4]



Steinkraus was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He first rode at the age of ten while at summer camp, after which he took lessons with such well-known horsemen as Gordon Wright and Morton W. "Cappy" Smith. He rode sales horses for Smith, allowing him to hone his skills on various mounts. In 1941 Steinkraus reached the highest level of equitation competition when he won the ASPCA Maclay Cup in Hunter Seat Equitation and the Good Hands Finals in Saddle Seat Equitation at the National Horse Show.[4]

Following his early successes, Steinkraus left to attend Yale University. After his first year of college, he joined the cavalry branch of the Army and was one of the final classes to receive their training on horseback. He was then shipped to Burma during World War II, where he served as part of the 124th Cavalry Regiment from 1943 to 1945.[4] He then returned to the United States and finished his education at Yale, being graduated in 1949.[4]

After college, Steinkraus focused on his riding career, and went on to join the Olympic team at the 1952 Helsinki Games. He also was a true amateur during this time, working as a businessman. Steinkraus retired from international competition at the end of 1972, following the show season, but continued to remain involved in the horse showing industry. This included involvement in the USET, either as president or chairman, from 1972 to 1992, and as an "Honorary Member" of the FEI Bureau.[4] He also was a television commentator from 1976 to 1988 and a judge at the 1992 Olympic Games. As of 2008, he was still riding and playing chamber music.[4]

He was married to Helen Ziegler, daughter of industrialist William Ziegler Jr. Helen died in 2012.[5]

Publications by Steinkraus

  • Riding and Jumping (1961)
  • The U.S. Equestrian Team Book of Riding (1976)
  • Great Horses of the United States Equestrian Team (1977) (co-author: Sam Savitt)
  • The Horse in Sport (1987)
  • Reflections on Riding and Jumping (1991)

See also



  1. ^ a b Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Bill Steinkraus". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Legendary Equestrian Bill Steinkraus Passes Away". TAPinto. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  3. ^ Profile: "William Steinkraus" Archived 2007-02-10 at the Wayback Machine databaseOlympics.com (Retrieved on January 8, 2008)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bryant, Jennifer O. Olympic Equestrian, A Century of International Horse Sport. Lexington, KY: Blood-Horse Publications, 2008.
  5. ^ Clarke, Katherine (27 June 2018). "On Sale: A Private Connecticut Island, Now Reduced to $120 Million". WSJ. Retrieved 12 August 2020.