Unforgettable Equestrian Moments at the Tokyo Olympics 2021
The unpredictable nature of equestrian sports and their capacity to produce historical moments are well known. Even if competitors do not win, there are innumerable emotional moments in equestrian sports, making it a truly great accomplishment regardless of the outcome. Such an equestrian event was the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
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The Swedish team galloping over the US equestrian team
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Team Jumping was the highlight of the last day of equestrian competition at the Tokyo Games. After the first two rounds, Switzerland and Great Britain were left disappointed by the performance of France. Sweden, the United States, and Belgium finished tied with eight points. In the jump-off, the USA secured the silver medal with one rail down, while Sweden quickly won gold. Belgium won at third place. However, the most memorable ride in this event was Peder Fredricson. Here are some more details about the event:
Germany’s Isabell Werth made history by winning her seventh equestrian gold medal, making her the most decorated equestrian athlete in Olympic history. Julia Krajewski who is German rider, achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first woman to win individual gold in eventing. Great Britain ended a 49-year eventing team medal drought by securing the team eventing title.
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Ben Maher and his horse Explosion W delivered an exhilarating performance in the individual showjumping final, narrowly edging out Peder Fredricson of Sweden in a dramatic jump-off. Peder Fredricson, who won silver in the individual showjumping, led Sweden to victory in team showjumping, marking their first gold in the event since 1924. Peder said, “I saw McLain’s round and I also didn’t have so much time between my first round and jump-off, so I wanted to stay calm as long as possible. I did one small oxer then watched McLain’s round then walked All In to give him time and collect my thoughts. Since I got a silver medal in the individual I was quite determined to make the time and luckily the poles stayed up today.”
Additionally, Charlotte Dujardin became Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, with three Olympic gold medals, one silver, and two bronze medals in dressage. Looking ahead, the 2024 Paris Olympics will host equestrian events at the Chateau de Versailles, providing a stunning backdrop for the competitions.
A classy Show from the four-time Olympian Ben Maher
Ben Maher, representing Great Britain, clinched his first individual Olympic title with a spectacular victory in the jumping final at Equestrian Park. Riding Explosion W, the four-time Olympian joined the ranks of British equestrian legends by becoming only the second Briton to secure the top spot in the Olympic Games’ jumping individual event, following his gold in the Team Jumping final at London 2012.He’s the first horse I’ve ridden who grunts when he jumps – just like a tennis player – because he always puts in maximum effort,” Maher said of the 12-year-old Gelding prior to the trip to Tokyo in the conversation with euro sport.
This victory marked a remarkable achievement for the 38-year-old Maher, who had endured two individual second-place finishes at European Championships before. Determined not to leave any room for regrets, Maher embraced a high-risk, high-reward strategy in the final.
In an intense competition where all six riders jumped clear, forcing a nail-biting jump-off for the medals, Maher’s performance stood out. He set an impressive time of 37.85 seconds, outpacing the competition, and ultimately claimed the gold. The silver went to Sweden’s Peter Fredricson, while the bronze was secured by the Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten, marking the Netherlands’ first equestrian medal since London 2012.
With all riders delivering flawless performances in the final, the challenging course tested their skills. Ben Maher and Explosion W, known for their incredible speed, proved to be an unbeatable combination. Maher said after his victory to BBC sport “He grew wings for me – he’s a real athlete, he’s not a normal horse. Maher’s victory also contributed to Great Britain’s continued success in equestrian events at Tokyo 2020, with medals earned in all five disciplines.
First eventing title for Great Britain after 50 years
Great Britain’s players Oliver Townend, Laura Collett and Tom McEwen clinched a historic team eventing gold at Tokyo 2020 after 49 years of wait for Olympic glory in this discipline. Great Britain secured first place with impressive total score of 86.30, while Australia claimed the silver and France took home the bronze. Reflecting on his round, McEwen said, “He is a class horse and a great jumper, so it was just up to me on top.”
“My nerves were fine. They [Townend and Collett] are both brilliant riders, and I had no doubt they would pull it straight out of the bag quite easily and comfortably.” He said to sky sports.com. Tom McEwen, who led the charge for the British team riding Toledo De Kerser, exhibited a perfect performance. Laura Collett overcame a shaky start to contribute to the team’s success and Oliver Townend sealed the victory with a composed performance, securing gold for Great Britain in style.
First Woman to win individual gold in eventing
Julia Krajewski of Germany made history at the Equestrian Park by becoming the first female athlete to win Olympic gold in individual eventing. Her near-flawless performance with her horse, Amande de B’Neville, in the final jump secured this remarkable achievement, breaking a 57-year-long tradition of male-dominated victories in the event. Krajewski expressed her pride and gratitude, describing her journey to this historic moment as a roller coaster of emotions, reflecting on her first pony European title 20 years ago.”I’m super proud of my horse. I’m relieved and happy that I made it happen,” Krajewski said.
The competition included dressage, cross country, and jumping sections, with Krajewski’s standout performance in the jumping individual qualifier positioning her for the gold medal. Despite facing personal challenges and uncertainty leading up to Tokyo 2020, Krajewski’s determination and her bond with her horse, Mandy, ultimately led to this extraordinary achievement, making Olympic history.”I’m very thankful for everyone who has been with me all the way. I won my first pony European title 20 years ago. And since then it’s been a roller coaster really. And it’s quite unreal.” She said.
In the same event, Great Britain’s Tom McEwen earned silver, marking Team GB’s first medal in the individual event since Beijing 2008, while Australia’s Andrew Hoy secured bronze, setting a record as the oldest Australian to medal at an Olympics.
More gold medals for the German equestrian team
Isabell Werth of Germany made Olympic history by winning her seventh equestrian gold medal in the team dressage event at Tokyo. “It feels good, super,” said Werth to first post.com, “I’m really happy and proud about the seventh gold medal. It’s a cool feeling.”This achievement extends her total Olympic medal count to 11, breaking a shared record with late compatriot Reiner Klimke. Riding Bella Rose 2, they garnered 2740.5 points as the German all-female trio clinched their 14th team crown since 1928 with a total of 8178 points. Werth, Dorothee Schneider, and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl are strong contenders for the individual title.
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Despite her historic win, Werth expressed her disappointment with the judges’ scores, believing her horse deserved more. The United States took silver with 7747 points, while Britain earned bronze with 7723 points, and British rider Charlotte Dujardin aims to secure her third consecutive individual Olympic title in the upcoming event.
As this year is about to end, the new season will begin and the most exciting part will be the Tokyo 2024 which will take place between the 27th of July and the 6th of August. Will this event also be memorable? only time will decide.
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