Credit : Icon Scoop
Monday 15 August - 18h33 | Lulu Kyriacou
With temperature in the 90's the dresssage freestyle to music at the 2016 Olympic Games, which would decide the individual medals, was always going to be a hot contest and so it proved as several riders rode personal best scores but none was quite good enough to stop Britain's Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro claiming a second Olymic title, the first time in history that any British woman, in ANY sport has retained Gold medal. Having won, dujardin then confessed Valegro may well now be retired.
Britain had qualified three out of their four riders for this session and first of them to ride was Fiona Bigwood on Othilia who scored a respectable 76.018 % but that was never going to be a medal contender in this company. After her Holland's Hans Pieter Minderhoud was leading for a while with 80.571 on Johnson until Carl Hester arrived in the ring and set the competition alight. Hesters test on Nip Tuck opened with two pirouettes on the centre line the first in piaffe and the second in collected canter and was followed by a masterful and fault free performance for 82.553 This was well into the lead with only eight more tests to go. Hester, who is also training defending champion Charlotte Dujardin, was delighted with his horse "I was really emotional today but he (Nip Tuck) was on my side this time. He was light in my hand like a feather, beautiful to ride, just lovely how you imagine dressage riding is going to be. On day one I was battling with him seeing pokemons and other monsters spooking all over the place, but he has completely settled and has put 5% on my Special score so I couldn't be more pleased. If I get a medal, it will just be a bonus," he said before rushing off to help Dujardin with her final preparation.
Spain's harshly marked Severo Jurado Lopez, eventual 5th
The last six into the ring began with Kristina Brohing Sprehe and Desperado, only just beaten by Dujardin in Aachen for Germany. The world number one proved how relaxed her horse was with a walk, piaffe, walk section near the beginning, then extended canter to very good pirouettes ( four on each rein) followed by a zig zag in piaffe and passage which were executed without fault. Her score totally reflected the difficulty when she scored 87. 142 with 90.571 for artistic interpretation.She was followed by Dujardin and Valegro whose Tom Hunt music composition tried the same trick as her London one, using a theme from the country she was riding in, and the samba style music certainly livened up the arena. And it worked. Their execution was also flawless, but the technical difficulty was no more than her German rivals but Dujardin's artistic marks were off the scale, scoring 99% from two judges which gave the British pair and overall mark of 97% for artistic which left Valegro's overall mark at a hefty 93.857%; not quite enough to beat his own personal best, but surely enough to pressurise the remaining five riders. The tears from Charlotte as she left the arena gave an indication of her joy at the performance. The British rider was followed by Germany's Dorothea Schneider and Showtime who made mistakes which ended their chances but scored 82.946 to demote Hester. Spain's Severo Jurado Lopez and Lorenzo though rode an absolutely sparkling test, to the music of Queen which included a canter pirouette into piaffe and a one handed passage finish but to boos from the crowd he only scored 83.55 which did look extremely harsh. American Laura Graves with Verdades moved into third with a score of 85.196 which also looked harshly marked although there was one tiny mistake. So could Isabell Werth spoil the British party. Certainly the German legend and her horse Weihegold came out fighting moving fluidly and with great expression. Also using extended canter into a pirouette to show their control, Werth and Weihegold literally danced but there were fractional losses of rhythm in the last piaffe pirouette and that proved expensive. Her overall score was 89.071, easily good enough for silver but a massive 4% behind Dujardin, now in the elite club of those who have won a gold medal and then defended it four years later. Dujardin said "I have just had the best ride, Valegro has given me everything, we have all had a cry, Valegro couldnt have done any more, i am going to give him lots of sugar and carrots and pats. I am so happy but I am also a bit overwhelmed. We havent thought too much beyond today and i am very emotional as this may be our last competition together, its on the cards Valegro might be retired."Full scores are here https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-standings-eq-dressage-individual
Sunday 14 August - 19h25
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