Ernst Hoppenberg (July 26, 1878 in Bremen – September 29, 1937 in Kirn) was a German swimmer and water polo player who competed in the late 19th century and early 20th century in the 200m events. He participated in Swimming at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris and won two gold medals in the 200m backstroke and 200m team race for Germany.
He was also a member of the German water polo team, but he did not participate in the only match for Germany in the 1900 tournament.
He died in a traffic accident.
International Swimming Hall of Fame
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1900 gold (200m backstroke). First Olympic backstroke champion.
Ernst Hoppenberg was the very first Olympic backstroke champion when the dorsal stroke was added to the Olympic bill in 1900 at the second Olympics in Paris. Hoppenberg's winning tradition continued for Germany in the backstroke event for the next two Olympiads. (Brack 1904, Bieberstein 1908). Hoppenberg remained the 200 meter backstroke Olympic record holder until 1964 when USA's Jed Graef captured the gold after the 200 meter distance was again added to the program. Hoppenberg won a second gold medal on the winning team race (freestyle relay) for Germany, thus showing his versatility and all around prowess in more than one stroke.