German Olympic Champion Helmut Bantz passed away....

The "Hecht" of Melbourne died!

German version

  Yesterday, October the 4th, after a long illness, the German Olympic Champion on vault (Melbourne 1956) passed away, only two weeks after his 83rd birthday.

  In his childhood Helmut Bantz was primarily an enthusiastic swimmer, diver and pole high jumper. The Olympic Games 1940 and 1944 could not be held because of the barbaric World War II. The German gymnast had intended to take part.

In 1948 the Olympics took place in London and the British squad was trained by the German prisoner of war Helmut Bantz.

"Being a reminder the Olympic trousers of the Englishmen are still in my cupboard.“
Although Germany had been excluded of the Games, this German was offered to march into the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony. Bantz refused.

Typical for Bantz: 
Glasses accurately secured with plaster to the temples >>>

Helmut Bantz (GER)
 born: 14-Sep-1921
died: 04-Oct-2004

... 80th birthday party 2001 in Cologne:

From left:
Hans-Jürgen Herrmann, Olympiasieger Klaus Köste, Hans-Jürgen Zacharias, und Helmut Bantz

From left:
Günter Jakobi, Klaus Zschunke (+), Hardi Frenger, Helmut Bantz, Philipp Fürst

Then, in 1952 in Helsinki and 1956 in Melbourne

he performed as member of the German Olympic team. At the WCh 1954 in Rome he became Vice-World Champion on vault and on high bar, top performances which were not paid much attention for. On the same day Germany became football World Champion in Bern. At the European Championships 1955 in Frankfurt a. M. Bantz became European Champion on parallel bars. In best memory, however, will stay his magnificent "Hechtsprung" over the vault in the Olympic town Melbourne. Being 36 years old he won the gold medal. 

On 14 September the Olympic Champion on vault in 1956 Helmut Bantz celebrates his 83rd birthday. The lively gentleman from Rheinland, who had been lecturer at the German Sports University in Cologne until 1984, still belongs to the most known and successful German gymnasts. 

At the gymnastics federation of Rheinland he was honorary manager of gymnastics from 1970 to 1986, then member of the presidency until 1992. His birth town Speyer named a stadium after him.

<<< Olympic Gold 1956, together 
       with Valentin Muratov, in front of Juri Titov

The round leather had always fascinated the later lecturer of the sports university in Cologne, too. Generations of coaches like Erich Ribbeck, Jupp Heynckes and also Günter Netzer did conditioning with him, because his friend Hennes Weisweiler worked as coach for conditioning in Mönchengladbach for some time. But the greatest passion of the 18 times German Champion always belonged to artistic gymnastics.
Besides plenty of honours and awards Bantz being a "especially committed personality of sports" received the Georg-von-Opel-Award in the Old Opera House in Frankfurt/Main in 1998 in order to honour him as one of "the silent winners" (please look at GYMmedia-Report from 30 November 1998).

Recently he attended a traditional meet of international gymnastic stars in Ingelheim in summer 2001. Participants from 13 countries took part there...

At last he lived as retired lecturer in Cologne (Puhlheim-Brauweiler near Cologne) - in a street that is named after Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. 

Helmut Bantz and his wife