The Swiss gymnastics legend Jack Günthard, who won Olympic Gold on the horizontal bar in 1952 and was known for his 1970’s television programme “Fit with Jack”, died on Sunday at the age of 96, close friends of the family have confirmed.
Besides winning an Olympic medal in Helsinki, Günthard earned two gold medals at the 1957 European Championships: one on the horizontal bar and the other on the parallel bars.
The Zurich-born typesetter was also the star of a daily radio programme, “Early Gymnastics with Jack”, which aired mornings between 7am and 8am on Radio Beromünster.
Günthard’s career as a gymnastics coach began with the Italian men’s team, which he brought into shape for the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games.
From 1965 to 1970 Günthard coached the Swiss national men’s gymnastics team.
Günthard inspired a generation of Swiss to stay in shape at home, with his popular TV programme in the 1970s, "Fit with Jack".
“Jack Günthard was one of the architects of Swiss gymnastics, leading the way to major developments in the sport in the 1960’s and 70’s,” says Ruedi Hediger, director of the Swiss Gymnastics Federation.
Günthard was a very disciplined person, and very competent, Hediger remembers. “He was always working toward a goal, and followed a consistent path to reach that goal.”
Jack Günthard was friendly, and “a gentleman”, Hediger told swissinfo.ch. Even after he retired as trainer he continued to show interest in the sport. “I saw him often in the training hall at Magglingen, watching the national team work out.”
swissinfo.ch and agencies