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Franz Kapus

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameFranz•Kapus
Used nameFranz•Kapus
Born12 April 1909 in Zürich (SUI)
Died4 March 1981 in Zürich (SUI)
Measurements188 cm / 92 kg
AffiliationsZürcher Bob Club, Zürich (SUI)
NOC Switzerland

Biography

Despite not beginning his career until the age of 36, Franz Kapus was among the most successful Swiss bobsledders of the post-World War II era. He first appeared at the Winter Olympics in 1948, where he and his crew of Bernhard Schilter, Paul Eberhard, and Werner Spring placed eighth overall in the four man event, with a best finish of third in the second race. Four years later he and Spring were still unable to perform better than third in any single race, but improved to fourth overall alongside Felix Endrich and Fritz Stöckli. In the intervening years he had taken bronze in the four man at the 1950 and 1951 World Championships with Stöckli, Heiri Angst, and the non-Olympian Hans Bolli. In 1955 he finally captured gold in the four man, alongside Angst, Gottfried Diener, and Robert Alt, and also earned bronze in the two man with Angst. As the defending World Champions, Kapus and his crew were the favorites at the 1956 Winter Olympics and they did not disappoint, winning gold (and three of the four races) in the four man. At age 46, Kapus became the oldest man to pilot an Olympic gold medal-winning bobsled team and the second oldest Olympic bobsled champion, after J. J. O’Brien’s, distinctions he retains as of 2012. He also placed seventh in the two man alongside Angst.

Kapus retired from active competition following his Olympic victory and settled into coaching and sports administration. He was a consultant during the construction of the bobsled track at the 1972 Winter Olympics, held in Sapporo, and also served as coach of the Japanese national team. Prior to taking up bobsledding, he had been active in gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, and boxing, and was a mechanic by career.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Winter Olympics Bobsleigh (Bobsleigh) SUI Franz Kapus
Four, Men (Olympic) Switzerland 2 8
1952 Winter Olympics Bobsleigh (Bobsleigh) SUI Franz Kapus
Four, Men (Olympic) Switzerland 2 4
1956 Winter Olympics Bobsleigh (Bobsleigh) SUI Franz Kapus
Two, Men (Olympic) Heiri Angst 7
Four, Men (Olympic) Switzerland 1 1 Gold

Special Notes