Tales from Tokyo: ‘Estonia will go to the moon before having a rider at the Olympics’

  • Dressage rider Dina Ellermann was the female Estonian flagbearer at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony last night.

    “I was the chosen one from the girls, because it’s the first time Estonia has been represented in equestrianism at the Olympics,” she said. “Nobody believed it beforehand – it was said Estonia will go to the moon, but not have an equestrian at the Olympics, but I proved them wrong.

    “I never really thought I’d be here and to be carrying the flag – it’s unbelievable. I was walking beside [rower] Tõnu Endrekson, who has won medals, and I’m just at my first Olympics. I was so humble and thankful for that opportunity.

    “The support from my country is amazing – people are writing to me and saying do what you can, but we are really proud already because it’s a big thing that you are there. It’s history.”

    Dina’s story is particularly special because her ride Donna Anna, by Blue Hors Don Schufro, is an Estonian sport horse.

    Dina explained: “She was born in Estonia and raised there and I have had her since she was six months old. Now others know they can breed a horse that will go to the Olympics. We actually have two Estonian-bred showjumping horses competing here too, but Donna is the only 0ne carrying the Estonian flag.”

    Dina Ellermann scored 65.435% for her grand prix test.

    “People said no pressure, it doesn’t matter how today goes, but I still really wanted to do a clear test [without mistakes], but today was not that day,” she said.

    “I’m very pleased with my mare, but I’m not pleased with myself that I made some expensive mistakes. I need to improve, but looking at the score and thinking what expensive mistakes I made, I’m so motivated to be much, much better and to do a clear test at the Olympics next time.”

    Two other riders besides Dina also carried their nation’s flags at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony last night.

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