Bill Steinkraus — member of a celebrated Westport family, and the first American to win an Olympic individual gold medal in an equestrian sport — died November 29 in Darien. He was 92.
His death was announced yesterday the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.
According to the New York Times, Steinkraus was considered “one of the greatest riders in the history of equestrian sports.” He was on all 6 Olympics teams from 1952 through 1972.
He won a gold medal in 1968, silver medals in 1960 and 1972, and a bronze in 1952. He was on the US national team for 22 years, including 17 as captain. He was elected chairman in 1983, and chairman emeritus 9 years later. He was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1987.
Steinkraus was accomplished in many areas. A Yale University graduate and noted violinist, he was an editor in New York. He wrote several books about riding. He was also an expert an old books and antique furniture, a television commentator and an Olympic judge.
Steinkraus rode in Burma in World War II with the US Army’s last mounted regiment. He helped reopen the Burma Road.
Steinkraus grew up in Westport. His sister, Ruth Steinkraus Cohen, was active for many years in local and international affairs, many involving the United Nations. She died in 2002. The downtown Post Road bridge is named for her.
Steinkraus lived with his family in Noroton for many years. In 2016, his estate was put on the market for $175 million.
(Click here for the full New York Times obituary. Hat tip: Susan Iseman)