Anky van Grunsven claimed her second individual Olympic gold medal in a row today when she snatched victory in the kür with her 10-year-old Hanoverian Salinero. Anky previously won gold at Syndey 2000 with her great champion Bonfire.
The Dutch pair’s rendition of L’Estrit de Chason was free of faults and displayed none of the tension seen in the grand prix. They scored 85.825% to give them overall victory by just 0.435%.
Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber and her 16-year-old Rusty had to settle for the silver medal when Rusty’s piaffe during their Carmina Durana kür proved sticky in places. Taking bronze were Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and her 17-year-old Hanoverian Beauvalais.
Music borrowed from fellow team mate Richard Davison gave Carl Hester and his young Oldenburg gelding Escapado the chance to demonstrate a higher degree of difficulty than Carl’s usual programme would allow.
The gamble paid off as Escapado held his nerve despite showing some tension at times, including pawing the ground in the first halt. The pair produced plenty of good work to finish in 13th individually at Carl’s third Olympics.
After his ride Carl said: “I did my best. The half passes were bad and he stopped in the first piaffe because he got nervous. But I am just happy that I got to compete in the final, because my horse is very young and he can get nervous.”
Gold – Anky van Grunsven (Salinero) NED 79.278;
Silver – Ulla Salzgeber (Rusty) GER 78.833;
Bronze – Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (Beauvalais) ESP 76.667;
4. Deborah McDonald (Brentina) USA 75.653;
5. Hubertus Schmidt (Wansuela Suerte) GER 74.883
6. Robert Dover (Kennedy) USA 74.713
13. Carl Hester (Escapado) GBR 71.561