Cathrine Dufour conjured a stunning freestyle to put herself right into medal contention in the freestyle at the Tokyo Olympic dressage. She scored 87.507% riding the chestnut gelding Bohemian to take the lead with five to go – though the final contenders featured all of the favourites for the gold medal.
Cathrine, competing at her second Olympics, rode a technically brave test, with the music changing even within the pace to match the chestnut’s fabulous expression.
“He felt really amazing in the ring, and on the edge to a little bit dangerous, but I’d made up my mind to do that today,” she said. “I was super excited to show off my freestyle tonight – it’s like a masterpiece.”
They scored a whopping 93.086% for the artistic mark and 81.929% for the technical. Cathrine had been disappointed with her grand prix special the previous night, which she felt lacked “joy”, and so she decided to “go for it” this evening.
“I thought I have nothing to lose, I’d go in there, right on the edge,” she said. “It might break, it might stay good – and we succeeded.”
Finishing with a flourish
Bohemian entered the ring glistening with sweat, as is typical of him here in Tokyo, but while some of their rivals had been a bit flat this evening, Bohemian was full of energy. He was soft and athletic throughout and showed lovely transitions, with his piaffe pirouette being a highlight. Cathrine had hinted that there was more to come after the grand prix, where they qualified top of the group for this showdown – and so it proved.
The “beating of the drums” in Les Miserables’ When You Hear the People Sing matched Bohemian’s rhythmic piaffe to round off the test with a flourish. Cathrine pumped the air with a huge smile, signalling her delight with her 11-year-old ride.
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