I called Bill Steinkraus tonight in hopes of visiting him while I am at the NBC studios in Stamford, Connecticut, over the next few weeks covering the Olympics. When I was assigned to do my first Olympic Games commentary from Seoul Korea in 1988, Billy and Jim Simpson of NBC were my fellow broadcasters. I learned so much from those gentleman who both were kind, helpful and encouraging to me. After Seoul, Billy said he no longer wanted to deal with the travel and handed the baton to me. Billy sounded very spry on the phone and although I won’t tell his age, I did read that he was born in 1925.
Whereas Billy was certainly a mentor for me in my television career, he was without a doubt the rider we all aspired to be. As the first Individual Gold Medalist in Show Jumping for the USA in the Mexico City Games in 1968, Billy was a true technician, the picture of style and precision on Snowbound. He competed in five Olympic Games!
Billy said he would enjoy a visit to reminisce if it worked out, but did not want to miss any of the Equestrian coverage. I said that if I were visiting him, he wouldn’t be missing any! I hope I get to see him but if I am too busy then that is also a good thing, because it means Equestrian is getting great coverage and exposure.