In Memoriam: Gerd Wiltfang (1946-1997)
Remembering Gerd Wiltfang, who was born on this day 66 years ago. He was one the most talented riders ever and was only 51 years old when he died of heart failure in 1997.
Gerd Wiltfang (* April 27, 1946 in Stuhr; † July 1, 1997 in Thedinghausen), a baker’s son who became individual World Champion and won Olympic team gold. He was discovered in 1964, at the age of 17, by Alwin Schockemöhle, who brought him to Mühlen and took him under his wings. Already in 1965 Wiltfang took his first big international victory winning the Amsterdam Grand Prix on Schockemöhle’s Freiherr. A year later, then 20 years old, he became German champion on Ferdl and Ferrara (he won the German Championship two more times, on Askan in 1971 and on Roman in 1979).
In 1967 he started riding for the rich German sponsor Josef Kun in Homberg. Kun bought him great horses and in 1971 the greatest of them all, the grey Hanoverian Askan for a world record sum from Paul Schockemöhle. The same year Wiltfang won the King George V Gold Cup on Askan. A year later they were part of the gold medal winning German team at Munich Olympics, but although being the big favourite he failed in the individual competition. He won the Aachen Grand Prix in 1976 on Davos. In 1977 he entered the scene on a new superhorse called Roman. It was with Roman that he won his greatest title, the World Championships in Aachen 1978, beating Eddie Macken by a quarter of a time fault. In 1979 he won another great title on Roman, becoming European Champion in Rotterdam. The couple also won the 1979 Derby in Hamburg. Among his other successful horses were Dämon, Goldika, Dorian Grey, Abadan, Galipolis and Duell.
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