Colonel Piero D’Inzeo gave his farewell


This time he had to be second. They spent their life competing for first and second place, the others usually, came behind. This time Piero tried to catch his brother, once again, and reached him for eternity. The eldest of brothers D’Inzeo passed away tonight, with his family members closed to him. Three months from Raimondo’s death, on the 15th of November, and probably Piero could not wait any longer to join him. “This last time you got first”, said Piero on the day when he saluted his brother in the burial chamber. Always together, always fighting each other, always serving, as officers, the Carabinieri Cavalry Regiment and the Italian flag. It is difficult to summarize their careers and to describe their personal successes, there have been so many. Over the years they became two living legends of the equestrian sports worldwide and they represented the golden age of the Italian show jumping. It was the time when newspapers and tv shows were filled with their names and those of Graziano Mancinelli, Hans Günter Winkler and others greats champions.

On the 4th of March, Piero would have blown out 91 candles. Last year for his 90th birthday, General Piero D’Inzeo, better known as Colonel D’Inzeo, has been awarded, together with his brother, the joint honour medal by the Italian Chief of Defense General Staff. Born in Rome in 1923, we can say he won everything he could during his life. Piero began his equestrian career under the guide of his dad Costante, showing off his young talent and competing for the first time at the age of twelve in 1935. Thirty years at the top of equestrianism, always wearing the Carabinieri uniform, with eight consecutive presences in the Olympics Games, from ‘48 to ‘76, and six medals. The first came in ‘56, the individual bronze and the team silver, on the famous Uruguay. Then Helsinki, representing Italy both in show jumping, with Uruguay, and eventing with Pagoro. In 1959 he won the European championship in Paris, once again on Uruguay and the following year, on The Rock, he conquered the individual silver and the team bronze in the Olympics in Rome, where his brother Raimondo won the gold medal. Their best result of ever in front of their home public. In Tokyo, in 1964, Piero took another team bronze and the 9th individual position with Sunbeam. 7th in Mexico City in the individual ranking on Fidux, the last medal arrived in ‘72 in Munich on Easter Light with another bronze for the Italian team. Three time winner of the King George Cup in London, seven time of the Rome Grand Prix and four time of the Aachen Gp, a record that has been equalled only last year by the English rider Nick Skelton, winner in the same year of the Rome Gp on Big Star when he received the award by Piero D’Inzeo himself. Yes, because the Colonel stood in the equestrian sport till the very last, and no CSIO in Piazza di Siena took place without his presence. It was no more than 15 years ago, already past seventy that he decided to ride in the CSI of Geneva, his passion for horses never abandoned him. His wish, in fact, is that the equestrian business places horses once again as the first priority. Nowadays everything is focused on sponsorships, prize money, and sport has lost his goal: the love for horses. In the last few years Piero stressed this point again and again and we are sure that he was not happy to see how the sport changed. This should be his heritage for us: the example that he and his brother have been for all these years, representing the fairness of sport, the values of competition, the devotion for their country and the love and respect for horses. All the rest, life and death, do not depend on us. It was three years ago when the CSIO of Aachen honoured Italy in the 150th anniversary of its national unification and Piero D’Inzeo was the special guest of the opening ceremony: in our memory we will never forget the touching picture of Colonel D’Inzeo moved with his past rival Hans Günter Winkler, greeting the public of the main stadium with a white handkerchief, probably for the last time. Goodbye Colonel.

Barbara Leoni