Mexican Olympic medalist dies at 75

May 29, 2011

Double Olympic bronze medalist Joaquín Pérez de las Heras has died at his home in Texas at the age of 75.

Joaquín Pérez de las Heras
Representing his home country of Mexico, Pérez was a double bronze medallist at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and had a professional jumping career spanning more than 30 years.

Pérez died on Friday, 20 May. His wife, Joan, and his daughter, Katya, were at his side.

Pérez was widely tipped by the international equestrian community as a medal contender in Moscow having already competed at three previous Olympic Games in Mexico (1968), Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976). He had also enjoyed a highly successful European tour in the months running up the 1980 Games.

Riding the American-bred Alimony he clinched individual bronze and team bronze with compatriots Jesús Gómez Portugal, Alberto Valdes and Gerardo Tazzer in the Central Lenin Stadium, now part of Moscow's Luzhniki Olympic complex.

Pérez was born in Ameca, Jalisco in central-western Mexico in 1936. At the age of 11 he became hooked on jumping after riding Arete, the horse ridden by Lieutenant Colonel Humberto Mariles to double gold at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, a feat unequalled by any other Mexican sportsman at the time.

Pérez moved to El Paso, Texas (USA) more than 25 years ago, but returned to Mexico regularly to host clinics.