A new Olympic champion is crowned – how Jessica von Bredow-Werndl won gold in Tokyo

  • Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl is the new Olympic dressage champion, having taken the individual gold medal in resounding style riding TSF Dalera.

    The pair had arrived at the Games on a winning streak, and with the weight of expectation on their shoulders. They seemed the most likely combination since Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro to beat world number one Isabell Werth to a gold medal, but the pressure was immense.

    The pair rode to the same delightful La La Land music that won them individual bronze at the 2019 European Championships.

    “I would be a fool to change it,” laughed Jessica when asked if she had created a new routine for the Tokyo Olympics.

    Indeed, the music suits this tall, graceful mare down to a T, and the floorplan is both very difficult but also easy to follow – something always appreciated by judges and spectators alike.

    Everything was wonderful – while some horses, notably Dorothee Schneider’s Showtime FRH, appeared tired on this last day of competition, no one would guess how much the 14-year-old Trakehner mare had already given her rider over this past week, with two plus-84% scores in the grand prix and the special. 

    “What I felt was that from very first second to the last second she was 100% with me and trying her heart out for me to perform,” said Jessica, who finished her test with a classy one-handed centre line. “She was so listening to my aids that I couldn’t do too much or too little. She was incredible tonight.

    “The most difficult competitors are my own girls from my own country,” she added, talking about Isabell and Dorothee Schneider. “I couldn’t have done any better and I’m so pleased with Dalera.”

    Their enormous score of 91.73% is the first time this pair have broken the elusive 90% barrier in international competition, and where better to do it than the Olympics. Jessica’s teammate Isabell Werth gave it her all with Bella Rose 2, but they couldn’t quite touch 90%.

    Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was crowned Olympic champion, and presented with the gold medal, with Isabell settling for silver and Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin claiming bronze.

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