Ben Maher wins Olympic showjumping individual GOLD at Tokyo Games

  • Great Britain’s Ben Maher has been crowned as the new Olympic gold medallist as the Olympic showjumping individual medals were decided at the Tokyo Games in a thrilling jump-off on Wednesday (4 August).

    The 38-year-old rider and the exceptional gelding Explosion W were the fourth of the six contenders into the jump-off, producing a superb clear in 37.85sec, which couldn’t be beaten. Ben Maher was crowned Olympic champion, taking the title five years after Great Britain’s Nick Skelton and Big Star took the honours at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

    The silver medal went to Sweden’s Peder Fredricson with All In – repeating their feat from Rio – with bronze going to Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten with Beauville Z.

    “This horse is just in a different world. I don’t even remember what I was doing in the jump-off to be honest!” said Ben. “I had my plan and we just went. He just gave me everything.

    “I jumped the fastest round that I could possibly do and fortunately it was good enough.”

    Talking about the brilliant 12-year-old gelding, who he’s been riding for the past three years, winning many of the world’s major competitions and who is rated one of the very best in showjumping history, Ben said: “He’s is like lightning. I really took a big risk across the middle [of the arena after fence two] and we read each other’s minds, we’re very in sync, and he did question me at the brown oxer – I really felt a moment of hesitation. But he grew wings and that’s what sets him apart.

    “It’s been a nerve-racking few weeks,” reflected Ben. “Explosion is an incredible horse, he comes here with great form from the past couple of years and with that comes pressure – people expect things – but it’s not so easy, we’re riding horses and anything can happen.

    “The past 18 months have been difficult for everybody,” said Ben, who also underwent life-changing back surgery last year to treat the agonising pain he was suffering. “I have a lot to thank the owners, Pamela Wright and Charlotte Rossetter, for keeping this horse with me and my huge team back home; I have 10 to 15 people working with me, my vets, my physios, my farriers, and everybody who makes this possible.”

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