Hans Plenk, the luge athlete who has died aged 85, was flagbearer for Germany at the Opening Ceremony for the Grenoble 1968 Winter Olympics ©Getty Images

Hans Plenk, the luge athlete who led Germany’s team at the Opening Ceremony of the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, has died aged 85.

Plenk earned bronze at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, finishing behind two compatriots - gold medallist Thomas Kohler and silver medallist Klaus-Michael Bonsack - as they competed for the United Team of Germany.

The following year he won the world title in Davos, the culmination of a series of medal successes at the World Championships.

At the 1960 edition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen he won bronze in the singles and doubles.

He added singles silvers at the 1961 Girenbad and 1963 Imst World Championships before his crowning moment in Switzerland.

At the 1968 Winter Olympics he finished sixth as the title went to Austria’s Manfred Schmid.

Plenk’s death was announced by his hometown club RC Berchtesgaden (RCB), who reported that he had died peacefully at home in Schönau am Königssee overnight between September 10 and 11.

Plenk, who fondly remembered carrying the German flag at the 1968 Olympics Opening Ceremony, gave plenty back to his sport once he retired as an athlete.

He was the first Board member to successfully lead the RCB, and also judged at all World Cups held at Königssee, at the Junior World Cups and many international and national competitions.

He was also involved in the Bavarian Bobsleigh and Sled Sports Association (BBSV) as President and honorary member.

Plenk was particularly looking forward to the 100th anniversary celebration of the RCB, which is due to take place on Saturday (September 16) in the Königssee ice arena.

Plenk’s death comes just four months after that of the longtime national coach, Sepp Lenz, and six months after that of Bonsack.