Germany reclaim dressage title as Werth joins the greats
Germany claimed the team gold medal in the dressage on 12 August, relegating 2012 champions Great Britain to silver, despite the best efforts of their star performer Charlotte Dujardin.
With scores above 76 for all four riders, Germany clinched the top title, their 25th gold in a sport they had dominated for decades until they were upset by Great Britain in 2012. Germany's Isabell Werth outscored Dujardin with marks of 83.711 compared to 83.025.
In beating the famous Briton, Werth wrote her name into the Olympic record books for equestrian sport. Her victory sees her equal Reiner Klimke’s (FRG) record of six golds and Anky van Grunsven’s (NED) record of nine medals overall. She is also the first German athlete to win six gold medals – and only Franziska Van Almsick, with 10, has won more medals overall.
“Winning gold with three different horses (Weihegold OLD, Satchmo, Gigolo FRH) is worth more than many other things,” reflected Werth, adding that it was “the love of horses and enjoyment in training,” that helped her stay on for her fifth team gold medal 24 years after her first in Barcelona in 1992.
“I am feeling 50kg lighter now,” joked team-mate Dorothee Schneider, who admitted she felt the pressure as Germany’s second rider out. “Those who say they don't feel pressure, they lie. The horse has fun in the arena. Feeling that touches me. If I would not enjoy that then this would not be me anymore.”
“He went out there and he wanted to do this for me,” she said of her ride with Showtime FRH, and with whom she posted a score of 82.619. “He has such an engine behind him, so much power. The talent of this horse, we have had seven years of working together - and this is what you get.”
The USA finished with bronze, their first dressage medal since 2004, which of the three Olympic equestrian events is the only one judged subjectively, and the only one that does not involve jumping.
“It was a lot of pressure, but why would it change the way I ride?” said Laura Graves, the last US rider of the day, who secured her team’s bronze with a personal best of 80.644. “I would ride the same way going in first, and every one of us rides the best that we can.”