A first for Jappeloup de Luze
Last Saturday, some 50 guests, including horse riders and riding enthusiasts, came to Olympic Park to attend the official inauguration of the statue of Jappeloup, a life-size sculpture created in 1987 by Dutch artist Gabriël Sterk. The ceremony took place in the presence of Pierre Durand who, in the saddle of his unforgettable little black horse (only 15.5 hands), became Olympic show jumping champion at the Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul. It was 2 October 1988, 20 years ago.
Another dream coming true
In 2000, during a visit by the press to the Olympic Museum, at which he was guest of honour, the French rider imagined one day seeing his horse in this place, which had enchanted him with its beauty. Jappeloup has now found his home below the forecourt, and no visitor fails to stop to admire and photograph the horse. “Since ancient times, riders and horses have been an integral part of the Games”, recalled Pierre Durand after a cloth bearing the five rings was lifted from the statue. “It is wonderful that a horse now represents equestrian sports at the Olympic Museum, and I am even happier that it is Jappeloup”.
With Jappeloup, and for almost a whole decade, Pierre Durand won practically everything: French champion in 1982 and 1986; French number one from 1986 to 1990; 3rd in the Final of the World Cup in Berlin in 1985; European champion in St Gallen in 1987; 2nd in the Final of the World Cup in Gothenburg in 1988 and in Dortmund in 1990; but, above all, the ultimate accolade, an Olympic gold in Seoul. “A moment of emotion, of accomplishment. The dream had come true, the Olympic Ideal had become reality”, wrote Pierre Durand as a dedication on a photo.