Fritz Thiedemann

Fritz Thiedemann in Aachen 1956

Fritz Thiedemann in Aachen 1956

Fritz Thiedemann (March 3, 1918 – January 8, 2000) was a German equestrian, considered to be one of the greatest show jumpers of his time.

Born in the town of Heide (Schleswig-Holstein), as the son of a farmer. His riding talents became clear at a young age, but he could not display them internationally until after World War II. During the war, Theidemann commanded a cavalry unit and was captured and interred at a Russian prison camp by war’s end.

At the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Thiedemann achieved a unique performance, winning medals in two equestrian disciplines, a feat since unequalled. He placed third in the dressage team event, and won another bronze medal in the individual jumping contest with his favourite horse Meteor, with which he would win all major prizes in his career.

The following year, Thiedemann won a jumping silver at the World Championships in Paris. Winning another medal (bronze) in that event in 1956 in Aachen. That same year, he won a gold medal with the United Team of Germany in the 1956 Olympics in Stockholm, while just missing out on an individual medal with a fourth position.

At the 1958 European Championships in Aachen, he took the title. Thiedemann was the flag-bearer of the United Team of Germany (composed of both East and West German athletes) at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. The United Team of Germany successfully defended their jumping title, Thiedemann winning his fourth Olympic medal. In addition, he placed 6th in the individual jumping competition.

Fritz Thiedemann and his Meteor retired from the sport in Aachen 1961, after helping Germany winning the Nations Cup. He was then 43 years old and Meteor 17 years. It was a very emotional farewell with a standing ovation from the 50.000 spectators in the Aachen Soers arena.

He was appointed Chef d’Equipe for the German jumping team 1967.  But he did not get on very well with the new generation of riders, there were a lot of disputes and he resigned already before the Olympics in Mexico 1968.

Thiedemann died in his birthplace Heide at age 81. The Thiedemann rein is named after him.

Fritz Thiedemann on Meteor, Olympic Games in Stockholm 1956

Fritz Thiedemann on Meteor at the Olympic Games in Stockholm 1956

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