Lis Hartel was a pioneer for women’s dressage in the Olympic Games.
One of the first
Women won the right to compete in Olympic dressage for the first time in 1952. One of the first women to compete was Lis Hartel from Denmark.
In 1944, Hartel, then a 23-year-old pregnant mother, was paralysed by polio. Gradually she reactivated most of her muscles, although she remained paralysed below the knees. After three years of rehabilitation, she was able to compete in the Scandinavian riding championships and finished second in women's dressage.
In 1952, she was chosen to represent Denmark at the Helsinki Olympic Games. Even though she had to be helped on and off her horse, she responded by winning the silver medal. Four years later, she won another silver in Stockholm. Lis Hartel died on 12 February 2009, aged 87.