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Franz Kapus

Full name: Franz Kapus
Gender: Male
Height: 6-2 (188 cm)
Weight: 203 lbs (92 kg)
Born: April 12, 1909 in Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Died: March 4, 1981 in Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Affiliations: Zürcher Bob Club, Zürich (SUI)
Country: SUI Switzerland
Sport: Bobsleigh

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)

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 Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1948 Winter 38 Sankt Moritz Bobsleigh Men's Four Switzerland-2 SUI 8
1952 Winter 42 Oslo Bobsleigh Men's Four Switzerland-2 SUI 4
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Men's Two Switzerland-2 SUI 7
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Men's Four Switzerland-1 SUI 1 Gold

Men's Two

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Partner Phase Unit
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Heiri Angst Final Standings
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Heiri Angst Run 1
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Heiri Angst Run 2
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Heiri Angst Run 3
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Heiri Angst Run 4

Men's Four

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit
1948 Winter 38 Sankt Moritz Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Final Standings
1948 Winter 38 Sankt Moritz Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 1
1948 Winter 38 Sankt Moritz Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 2
1948 Winter 38 Sankt Moritz Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 3
1948 Winter 38 Sankt Moritz Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 4
1952 Winter 42 Oslo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Final Standings
1952 Winter 42 Oslo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 1
1952 Winter 42 Oslo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 2
1952 Winter 42 Oslo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 3
1952 Winter 42 Oslo Bobsleigh Switzerland-2 SUI Run 4
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-1 SUI Final Standings
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-1 SUI Run 1
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-1 SUI Run 2
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-1 SUI Run 3
1956 Winter 46 Cortina d'Ampezzo Bobsleigh Switzerland-1 SUI Run 4
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