Tokyo 2020 Dressage Team & Individual Results
German Giants Do It Again - Team Gold Number 14!
By Louise Parkes, FEI
For the fourteenth time in the long history of the Olympic Games, Germany claimed the Team Dressage title at Baji Koen Equestrian Park in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. They have now won nine of the last ten Olympic team titles, denied only by Great Britain at London in 2012.
In line with the exciting new format, the Grand Prix Special was divided into three Groups, and German riders posted the biggest scores in each division to put the result beyond any doubt. Dorothee Schneider and Showtime led the way with a super mark of 80.608, and world number one Isabell Werth produced a breathtaking test with her mare Bella Rose to put 83.298 on the board.
Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin and Gio producing a fabulous test in the Grand Prix Team and Individual qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Baji Koen Equestrian Park on July 25, 2021. Photo: FEI/Christophe Taniere
It was left to final team-member Jessica von Bredow-Werndl to round it up and, despite a mistake that would normally be punishing, the pair who took the Grand Prix by storm were so technically brilliant they put an Olympic Grand Prix Special record score of 84.666 on the board to wrap it up definitively.
In the battle between the eight nations that qualified from the Grand Prix, it came down to a two-way tussle between Great Britain and USA for silver and bronze, and the British had the edge going into closing stages. However, the Americans pulled out all the stops to overtake them thanks to stunning rides from Adrienne Lyle (Salvino), Steffen Peters (Suppenasper) and Sabine Schut-Kery (Sanceo).
Britain’s Carl Hester (En Vogue), Charlotte Fry (Everdale) and Charlotte Dujardin (Gio) took the bronze.
Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Portugal filled the remaining places.
Tears and Cheers as von Bredow-Werndl Takes Individual Gold
By Louise Parkes, FEI
Everything about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been a journey into the unknown. But there was a ring of familiarity combined with a spirit of great sport when Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl claimed the Individual Dressage title with the lovely mare TSF Dalera at Baji Koen Equestrian Park on July 28, 2021 where compatriot Isabell Werth had to settle for silver and Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin took the bronze. It was the perfect end to four fabulous days of competition in this first of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines.
The new champion threw down the biggest score in the opening Grand Prix and then set a new Olympic record in yesterday’s Grand Prix Special to secure the team title for her country. Tonight, she produced another performance that oozed such class and elegance that once she left the arena, with a score of 91.732 on the board, it seemed impossible she could be beaten.
The Dressage Individual Medalists at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Isabell Werth (GER) Silver, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) Gold and Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) Bronze. Photo: FEI/Shannon Brinkman
But the game is never over until its over, and the tension and emotions in the closing stages were extreme. Of four remaining combinations still left to take their turn, three of them were a real threat, and as she was trying to engage in a post-competition media interview, von Bredow-Werndl’s eyes were glued to the nearby screen, because, third-last to go, her compatriot Isabell Werth was in the ring.
Werth is a longtime legend with more Championships and Olympic medals in her trophy cabin than any other equestrian athlete. Never the shrinking violet, she is not used to playing second fiddle to her own team-mates and with her much-loved mare Bella Rose she produced one of her typically spellbinding performances that kept onlookers glued to every move. However, when her score of 89.675 was posted Von Bredow-Werndl burst into tears and fled back to the stables, overcome by the possibility that Olympic gold was now within reach.
Second-last to go was defending double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin from Great Britain, but not with the now-retired superstar Valegro with whom she dominated the sport in recent years, but instead with the 10-year-old gelding, Gio.
Von Bredow-Werndl’s mare took team gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA in 2018 and individual bronze at the European Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands the following year. Werth’s mare is a veteran of two World Championships in which she medalled and also those Europeans where she also took gold. On the other hand, Dujardin’s little chestnut, Gio, had previously only ever competed at one international show, at Hagen in Germany in April. Unaware of the level of exposure he was now getting however, Gio gave his all for a score of 88.543 which put him in bronze medal position.
Only the last of the German riders, Dorothee Schneider, could change the podium places now and under normal circumstances she might well have ensured it was an all-German one, but it didn’t happen when her horse, Showtime, was right off form.
Talking about the spectacular ride she enjoyed on Dalera tonight that earned the coveted gold, von Bredow-Werndl said, “I felt from the very first second to the last that she was 100 percent with me — listening so well that I had to be careful not to do too much or too little!” She’s been riding the 14-year-old mare for many years now, but she’s had a new level of belief in their potential since producing a great performance at the 2019 European Championships.
Meanwhile silver medallist Werth was asked what it was like to no longer be the number one German rider, and replied with her usual wisdom. “If you follow the results of the last 30 years I have not always been number one, it has been up and down all the time and I’m happy today because Bella felt fantastic. This was a tough sporting competition and that’s what we all want to have and love to have. You can’t have ten winners, you can only have one, that is sport.”
Dujardin meantime, who in winning her sixth medal has overtaken rower, Dame Katherine Grainger, to become Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian of all time, was delighted with her bronze, and thrilled with her little wonderhorse.
“I was never going down without a fight, but Pumpkin (Gio) has only done one other Freestyle in his life and for him to go out there with as little experience as he has is truly outstanding. We never did this floorplan before and he didn’t know what he was doing, and I didn’t know what I was doing, but we just went out to have a really good time and enjoy ourselves, and we did that. I’m really proud of him,” she said.
For more information on equestrian events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games please click here.
Main Photo: Dressage individual Gold medalist Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) and TSF Dalera achieved a total score of 91.732 percent. Credit: FEI/Christophe Taniére