Karl Schäfer (May 17, 1909 in Vienna – April 23, 1976 in Vienna) was an Austrian figure skater and swimmer. In figure skating, he was the 1930-1936 World Champion and the 1929-1936 European Champion. He won the gold medals at the 1932 Winter Olympics and the 1936 Winter Olympics. As a swimmer, he competed in the Breaststroke and competed at the 1928 Summer Olympics in swimmer.
Karl Schäfer was born not far from the artificial ice rink of Eduard Engelmann Jr. in Vienna-Hernals. When he was 11 years old, the figure skating coach Rudolf Kutzer first recognized his talent. In 1923 he participated in an ice show in Hernals as "Rosenkavalier".
As a figure skater, he won 10 consecutive medals at the World Figure Skating Championships and the European Champion. He competed at the 1928 Winter Olympics and placed 4th. He won back to back Olympic titles in men's singles at the 1932 Winter Olympics and the 1936 Winter Olympics.
Schäfer was talented in other ways as well. He played the violin very well, and was also Austrian Breaststroke champion several times. He competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics and was eliminated in the semi-finals of the swimmer.
He retired from competitive skating in 1936. He moved for a couple of years to the United States and worked there as a coach. In 1938 he opened a sport store in Vienna. In 1940 he and Herta Wächter (also a figure skating coach) founded the "Karl-Schäfer-Eisrevue" (Karl Schäfer Ice Revue).
In 1943 he became an actor and was the star of the movie "Der weiße Traum" (The White Dream), which was produced on Engelmann's ice rink in Vienna-Hernals.
After the World War II Schäfer participated in rebuilding the Engelmann's ice rink, and from 1946 on he coached young skaters there.
Between 1956 and 1962 he moved again to the U.S. to work as a figure skating coach. From 1962 he returned as a coach to Vienna-Hernals and lived and worked there until he died.
He was married to Christine Engelmann, the youngest daughter of Eduard Engelmann Jr. He was the brother-in-law of Helene Engelmann.
The Karl Schäfer Memorial is a figure skating competition named after him that is held annually in Vienna.
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