The horse has always
played a crucial part in the dynamics of the rural civilization in Romania.
Therefore, equestrian competitions have always had their place among Romanian
traditional sports. In Romanian villages, even to this day youngsters compete
riding a horse or driving horse-drawn wagons.
Little wonder, then,
that the first Romanian Olympic medal in an individual event was won by a
jockey in an equestrian contest. It is rather inappropriate to say that the
feat was a purely individual one, since the credit for success should always
and equally go to the jockey and the horse he rides. In equestrian disciplines,
it has always been difficult to have a clear-cut success ratio placing the talent
of the horse against the mastery of the jockey riding it, when it comes to a
couple was made of cavalry lieutenant Henri rang and his horse Delfis. In
Berlin, in 1936, the two came in 2nd in the steeple-chasing event.
Rang and Delfis had an
excellent trail. And yet, they had to compete in a play-off session for the
gold medal, having to prove their mettle against German lieutenant Kurt Hasse
and his horse. From this episode onward, versions are divergent, according to
their source. Were we to believe the info provided by the Sports Magazine of
that time, in the playoff, Tora and Kasse were the first competitors. For the
final obstacle of the chase, Tora fails and ends the race with a penalty. It was
the Romanian stallion's turn; the horse had an elegant start and
uninterruptedly jumped over the obstacles. The German public was suddenly
brought to a standstill. The prospects of winning the gold medal became
distant. Then, before the most difficult obstacle, the last one, actually the one
where Tora failed, Delfis slightly touched the upper bar, also failing. The
German public literally exploded; their joy was total when the speaker
announced the winning of the race by Lieutenant Hasse, for the shorter timing
he managed during the race.
Very little is known
about lieutenant Rang He was a member of the golden generation of Romanian
equestrianism, with the name of Felix Topescu being the most familiar one.
Henri Rang trained for top-level horse-riding competitions, taking part in
top-flight international tournaments until the outbreak of World War Two. Henri
Rang died in 1946, at the age of 44.
(Translation by Eugen Nasta)