Kurt Oppelt

Kurt Oppelt
Personal information
Country represented Austria
Born (1932-03-18)March 18, 1932
Vienna, Austria
Died September 16, 2015(2015-09-16) (aged 83)
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Former partner Sissy Schwarz
Retired 1956

Kurt Oppelt (March 18, 1932 – September 16, 2015) was an Austrian figure skater who is best known for his career in pair skating. With Sissy Schwarz, he is the 1956 Olympic champion, the 1956 World champion, the 1956 European champion, and a five-time Austrian national champion (1952–56).[1]


Single skating

Oppelt started his career as a singles skater, taking bronze at the Austrian Championships in 1951–52 and silver in 1953. He placed 11th both at the 1952 Olympics and at the 1953 World Championships.

Pair skating

Oppelt's partner in pair skating was Sissy Schwarz. In 1952, they won their first national title and were sent to their first European Championships, where they placed seventh. The pair then competed at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, where they placed ninth, and at the 1952 World Championships, finishing seventh.

Schwarz/Oppelt stepped onto the European podium for the first time at the 1953 European Championships, where they won the bronze medal, and then placed sixth at the World Championships. In 1954, they became European silver medalists and went on to win their first World medal, bronze, at the 1954 World Championships. They followed it up with silver at the 1955 World Championships, finishing as close runners-up to Canada's Frances Dafoe / Norris Bowden, who took their second World title.

After winning the Austrian national title for the fifth consecutive year, Schwarz/Oppelt became the 1956 European champions. They then competed at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Skating to Banditenstreiche by Franz von Suppé,[2] they won the gold medal ahead of Dafoe/Bowden, who faltered on a lift, causing them to finish after their music ended. The judging panel was split 6 to 3 in favor of Schwarz/Oppelt.[3]

Schwarz/Oppelt went on to win the 1956 World title before retiring from competition. In the summer of 1956, they joined the Wiener Eisrevue and performed in ice shows for three or four years.[4][5]

Later life

Oppelt was the coach of the Royal Dutch figure skating team from 1957–60.[6] He later settled in the United States. Beginning in 1967, Oppelt was an instructor at the Pennsylvania State University in its College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.[6] He was inducted into Austrian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1976.[6] In 1996, he received the Golden Medal of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria.

With his wife Cathleen, he has two sons, Kurt and Christopher, born in the 1970s.[4]


Pairs with Schwarz

Event 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956
Winter Olympics 9th 1st
World Championships 7th 6th 3rd 2nd 1st
European Championships 7th 3rd 2nd 1st
Austrian Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st

Single skating

Event 1951 1952 1953
Winter Olympics 11th
World Championships 11th
European Championships WD
Austrian Championships 3rd 3rd 2nd
WD = Withdrew

See also


  1. ^ "Eiskunstlauf-Olympiasieger Kurt Oppelt verstorben". derStandard.at (in German).
  2. ^ Stockmann, Gabi (19 February 2010). "Die Goldene war damals nicht aus Gold" (in German). adaxas.net. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014.
  3. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/olympics/history/1956cortinadampezzo.shtml
  4. ^ a b "Eiskunstlauf-Olympiasieger Oppelt wird 80" [Olympic figure skating champion Oppelt turns 80] (in German). Kurier.at. 16 March 2012. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014.
  5. ^ Roman Seeliger, Die Wiener Eisrevue. Ein verklungener Traum. hpt 1993 ISBN 3-7004-0680-0
  6. ^ a b c "Winter Olympic Games: Athleticism in the Snow, 2010 Games: February 12–28, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada". Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "Sissy Schwarz und Kurt Oppelt - zwei Einzelsportler gemeinsam zu Gold" [Sissy Schwarz and Kurt Oppelt] (in German). Österreichisches Olympiamuseum. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Schwartz and Oppelt competition record". pairsonice.net. Archived from the original on 20 May 2003.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)

External links