France’s double Olympic gold-medallist Pierre Jonqueres d’Oriola died at his home in the Pyrenees yesterday (19 July), at the age of 91.
Mr d’Oriola won individual showjumping gold at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, riding Ali Baba.
And 12 years later in Tokyo, Mr d’Oriola again took individual gold, this time on Lutteur B, and led the French to team silver.
His was the only gold medal for France in the Tokyo Olympics, earning him special congratulations from General de Gaulle and a hero’s welcome.
Mr d’Oriola won individual gold at the 1966 world championships in Buenos Aires with a new horse, Pomone B.
He then rode in the change-horse final against three other legendary names in the sport — Spain’s José de Borhoques, Italy’s Raimondo d’Inzeo and Brazil’s Nelson Pessoa — to become the first French rider to claim the title.
The Mexico Olympics in 1968 was his fifth and final Olympic appearance — he took team silver.
During 25 years of international competition, Mr D’Oriola scored more than 500 victories, including Grand Prix wins in Rome, Paris, Geneva, Nice and Brussels, as well as the King’s Cup in London.
He was French national champion four times — in 1954, 1956, 1958 and 1959.
“He was an absolute gentleman and a wonderful horseman”, FEI director of showjumping John Roche said.
“He will be missed greatly by all who knew him and came in contact with him.”