Britain’s Nick Skelton and Big Star won gold in the individual showjumping competition at the Rio Olympics today.
They were first to jump in the six-strong medals jump-off and set a blistering pace with a clear round that none of his rivals — a Who’s Who of showjumping talent — could catch.
Fifty-eight-year-old Nick is at his seventh Games, making his debut in 1988. He has missed only one Olympics, Sydney 2000, after he broke his neck.
Big Star was on the team that clinched gold in London 2012 but was denied an individual medal in Greenwich.
The 13-year-old stallion by Quick Star x Nimmerdor (owned by Gary and Beverley Widdowson and Oliver Robertson) has since returned from a career-threatening injury.
“I’m so pleased with him today — we’ve done a lot of work with him, bringing him back slowly,” said Nick. “We’ve nursed him and nursed him and nursed him and he’s come good for me.”
In our Olympics pull-out special issue, we asked: Could they add the individual title this
time around? Now we know the answer.
The individual contest went down to the wire, with six horses jumping double clears, forcing the jump-off for medals.
Sweden’s Peder Fredricson took the silver on All In, with bronze going to Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Only Peder and Nick jumped clear in the jump-off, and Eric won his medal by being faster than Switzerland’s London 2012 champions Steve Guerdat and Nino Des Buissonnets, who also had four faults.
The other pairs in the jump-off were the USA’s Kent Farrington (Voyeur) and Qatar’s Sheikh Ali Al Thani (First Devision). They both had two fences down.
Britain’s other rider still in the competition today, Ben Maher, had faults with Tic Tac during the second round as well as the first and did not make it through to the final jump-off.