Walter Steiner

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWalter•Steiner
Used nameWalter•Steiner
Born15 February 1951 in Wildhaus (SUI)
Measurements184 cm / 70 kg
NOC Switzerland


Walter Steiner joined the Swiss national ski jumping team in 1968, but had little success in FIS events for several years and entered the 1972 Winter Olympics as a relative unknown. He placed 14th on the normal hill, but then surprised everyone by winning silver on the large hill, finishing only 0.1 points behind eventual gold medalist Wojciech Fortuna of Poland. The next month, Steiner demonstrated that this was no fluke by winning that year’s Ski-Flying World Championship. With the World Championships shifting to be held on odd years in 1973, Steiner had a rare opportunity for an immediate defense of his crown, but he lost it to East Germany’s Hans-Georg Aschenbach and had to settle for silver. Steiner missed the podium at the 1974 Nordic World Ski Championships with a fourth-place finish and did not fare well at the 1976 Winter Olympics, finishing ninth in both events. Steiner was twice runner-up in the Four Hills Tournament, in the 1973/74 and 1976/77 seasons. He had a comeback in 1977, when he also won his second Ski-Flying World Championships by a considerable margin, and then retired from active competition in 1978.

Steiner later worked as a coach with the Swiss and American national teams, and eventually moved to the Swedish town of Falun to live a quiet life. A carpenter by profession, he was the subject of Werner Herzog’s documentary “The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner”, a study of the psychology behind ski jumping. He was also awarded the Holmenkollen Medal in 1977 for his performance in Nordic skiing, shared with Helena Kivioja-Takalo and Hilkka Riihivuori-Kuntola of Finland.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Winter Olympics Ski Jumping (Skiing) SUI Walter Steiner
Normal Hill, Individual, Men (Olympic) 14
Large Hill, Individual, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
1976 Winter Olympics Ski Jumping (Skiing) SUI Walter Steiner
Normal Hill, Individual, Men (Olympic) 9
Large Hill, Individual, Men (Olympic) 9

Special Notes