On this day in 1879, German Olympic gold medallist, ERNST HOPPENBERG was born !!!
ERNST HOPPENBERG (GER)
1988 Honor Pioneer Swimmer
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1900 gold (200m backstroke). First Olympic backstroke champion.
Ernst Hoppenberg was the very first Olympic backstroke champion when the dorsal stroke was added to the Olympic bill in 1900 at the second Olympic Games in Paris. Hoppenberg’s winning tradition continued for Germany in the backstroke event for the next two Olympiads. (Brack 1904, Bieberstein 1908). Hoppenberg remained the 200 meter backstroke Olympic record holder until 1964 when USA’s Jed Graef captured the gold after the 200 meter distance was again added to the program. Hoppenberg won a second gold medal on the winning team race (freestyle relay) for Germany, thus showing his versatility and all around prowess in more than one stroke.
Hoppenberg was even more versatile than just swimming, as he played water polo as well, but did not compete in the only march for Germany in the 1900 tournament. Ernst was killed suddenly in late September 1937 in a traffic accident.