Before this Olympic Games in London, Great Britain had never won a medal in dressage of any color. Now that nation can count not only team gold but also individual thanks to a stupendous performance from Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in the freestyle today.
Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat took full advantage of a fresh start with Nino des Buissonnets. He was the only rider to go clean and within the time over both of Bob Ellis’ enormous tracks, earning him Switzerland’s first gold medal in equestrian in 88 years.
Last night the British show jumpers celebrated after taking their first team gold medal in sixty years, but tonight the dressage riders one upped that victory by doing something no British team has ever done before: winning team gold.
The British show jumpers aren’t known for wild displays of emotion, but when Peter Charles jumped a clear round to secure the gold medal as the last rider to go in a thrilling jump-off against the Netherlands, Nick Skelton literally leaped into the air with joy.
After one round of team show jumping at the Olympic Games, the biggest news isn't who will be going forward to the medal round, but rather who won't. Heavy hitters Germany, France and Belgium were all knocked out of the running, as well as the teams from Australia, Ukraine, Chile and Mexico.
An anticipatory hush fell over the Olympic arena when Charlotte Dujardin entered aboard Valegro. The Olympic rookie carried the weight of her team’s expectations on her shoulders, and her score would determine whether Great Britain stood in first or second after the Grand Prix test.
Is there any eventer out there better than Michael Jung? Two clear show jumping rounds at the Olympic Games earned him the individual gold, making him the only event rider to ever hold the title of World Champion, Olympic Champion and European Champion all at once.
Sue Benson intended to separate the Olympic winners from the also-rans by making the time tough to get on her twisty, hilly course in the center of Greenwich Park, and the cross-country results proved mission accomplished when Germany’s Ingrid Klimke on Butts Abraxxas tied with Sweden’s Linda Algotsson Ostholt on Wega for first place on double-clear rounds.