Schockemöhle finally strikes individual gold - Equestrianism

Germany’s master horseman Alwin Schockemöhle brought all of his guile and experience to bear when he finally claimed an individual Olympic gold at Montreal 1976.

It was to be the Hanoverian’s only taste of individual glory at the Games, but it capped a remarkable career which saw him occupy the highest echelons of equine sport.

Raised in a family of farmers, Schockemöhle burst onto the international scene at the age of 23 when he was a member of Germany’s victorious showjumping team at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

Although he finished a distant 26th in the individual rankings it was clear that he was a star in the making.

A clutch of medals at the European Championships followed and although he struggled to break through at the Olympic Games, finishing joint seventh at Mexico City 1968, his stock was rising.

In 1976 he was at the peak of his powers as riders and mounts converged on the equestrian stadium in Bromont, about an hour’s drive outside of Montreal.

He and older brother Paul were among the favourites to take team gold but they were pipped to the post by France.

In the individual event, Schockemöhle was the only rider to go clear in the first round and had the breathing space of two downed fences as he was the last to go in the second phase of jumping.

He didn’t need it.

In front of an entranced capacity crowd he completed another clear round to record the first perfect score in almost 50 years of Olympic showjumping.

As the rain gently started to fall, he maintained his focus and even the devilishly tricky triple at the end failed to throw him.

After a cool glance up at the scoreboard, Schockemohle removed his hat and waved it to the applauding crowd.

Individual glory was his at last.