Double Olympic champion will retire this season: ‘He doesn’t feel 18’

  • Michael Jung’s double Olympic eventing champion La Biosthetique-Sam FBW will retire from competing this season.

    The German rider said that Sam has wintered well and doesn’t seem 18 years old: “He is fresh every day and shows me he can’t wait to compete again.”

    Michael added that as Sam doesn’t like prize-givings and similar ceremonies, he will not have an official retirement ceremony, so fans who want to bid him farewell should watch him competing this season.

    The horse is aimed at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (2-6 May), with warm-up runs at Pratoni and Kreuth, after which Michael will decide whether to compete him again.

    Rumours about Sam’s retirement flew in the autumn last year after the horse was withdrawn from Pau, but Michael confirmed to H&H at the time that he had made the decision after the Rio Olympics that Sam would not contest another championship, but would continue competing.

    “He didn’t feel so good at Pau and that’s why he doesn’t do championships any more, so he doesn’t have the pressure,” he said. “We can do it [the competition] or not or retire him [on course] or go slow. If Burghley [where he was retired after a run-out] had been a championship we would have had to fight [to the end of the course].

    “He really likes competing, so he can do a few more competitions. At the moment he feels very good. We have a long winter here so we will see how he is come next spring, but he looks very healthy and Badminton is the plan, depending on how he is.”

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    Sam (Stan The Man x Heraldik) has an unsurpassed championship record. He has won two Olympic individual golds (2012 and 2016), a world individual gold (2010), a European individual gold (2011), a European individual bronze (2009), an Olympic team gold (2012), an Olympic team silver (2016) and a European team gold (2011). He has won Badminton (2016) and finished second there twice (2013 and 2017), as well as winning Burghley (2015).

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