Tokyo Olympics team dressage final: medals for Britain and a knockout US test

  • The Tokyo Olympics dressage medals were decided today. And what a fascinating day of sport it was, with the medal table flipping right up to the penultimate rider. Here’s what you need to know…

    Things didn’t go entirely Britain’s way. Coming into the final day’s team competition, Britain were close up to Germany in the silver medal position. But small mistakes in both Lottie Fry and Charlotte Dujardin’s tests pegged their scores back below the scintillating personal bests required to knock Germany off top spot. Plus, a knock-out test from the third American rider… So, it was Germany in gold, the US in silver and Britain in bronze.

    Carl Hester pulled a stunning test out of the bag. His ride En Vogue suffers from nerves and Carl knows he’s treading a tightrope to keep the 12-year-old gelding relaxed enough to perform at his dynamic best. They did a super job, scoring 78.34%, to keep Britain in silver at that point. Lottie Fry kept her cool despite an early break into canter on a lively and expressive Everdale to maintain Britain’s standing, but our grasp was beginning to slip.

    Charlotte Dujardin had an immense amount of pressure on her shoulders entering the ring on young Gio. He had already recorded a personal best in the grand prix, but he needed to push out another one today to hold off a strong challenge for the silver medal from the US. Gio’s early scores were trending at just over 80% which might just have secured the silver, but the combination of a US score beyond all predictions and a mistake in Gio’s one-tempis meant the Brits had to settle for bronze. Nonetheless, Britain has fielded three horses competing at their first ever championships and come home with medals – the future is looking very bright.

    The horse we all want to take home: Sabine Shut-Kery’s ride Sanceo. The 15-year-old stallion by San Remo smashed his personal best by some 4% to score 81.596%, lifting the US team above Britain.

    The top score of the day: Jessica von Bredow-Werndl posted 84.681% on her light and athletic mare TSF Dalera. They scored an abundance of 10s – 23 in total – with the piaffe and passage being particular highlights in an all-round stunning test.

    Germany’s Isabell Werth has now won her seventh Olympic gold medal, which is the world record for gold medals won in a specific discipline. Tomorrow she bids to extend the record to take an eighth, riding her beloved 17-year-old Bella Rose.

    Spain became the first nation to invoke the substitution rule. José Antonio García Mena, switched from Sorento 15, whom he rode in the grand prix, to Divina Royal for the final. Sorento was “a little sensitive on one leg” and so the chef d’equipe and team vet made the decision not to risk the gelding. Eleven-year-old Divina Royal scored 73.754%, a personal best.

    “We did our first international show in April,” said José. “She is a fantastic mare, one of the best horses in my life.”

    Well, there you have just a taster of this eventful third day of dressage in Tokyo. Tomorrow is the final day, the grand prix freestyle for the individual medals. Stay tuned for more coverage, including the third instalment of our new daily Tokyo podcasts, which will be available for you to enjoy shortly.

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