Tokyo 2020: in pictures
Tokyo is over! The XXXIInd Olympiad will certainly be one to be remembered after these past two years and being subject to the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic. Studforlife presents you with a look back in pictures on these 15 days of sport that were marked by beautiful surprises, joy and emotion.
The opening ceremony in the Olympic stadium with its 68,000 empty seats. The organizing committee put on the entertainment (fireworks, drone choreography...), but this moment, and more generally these Games, will remain marked by the absence of the public due to Covid-19.
The trot-up at the Olympic Games is a separate event. Each nation wears their most elegant clothes (or not, depending on who it is) before the beginning of the events at the Baji Koen equestrian stadium.
The events began with the dressage. After the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special, Germany were unsurprisingly crowned the Olympic Champions for the 14th time in the history of the modern Games. Dorothee Schneider, Isabell Werth and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl were simply unbeatable.
In the individual competition, it wasn’t Isabell Werth, the most successful equestrian sport rider of all time who won, but Jessica von Bredow-Werndl. The 30-year-old perfectly embodies the values of modern dressage: lightness, harmony and precision. Everyone was enchanted by the Lalaland soundtrack as she performed her musical freestyle with Dalera BB (Easy Game). Result: 91.732%. A record. Who could perform better at their first Games?
Virtually unknown to the general public, Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo (San Remo) surprised everyone by performing three superb tests, thus largely contributing to the United States’ silver medal.
The British had sent a team comprised of talent, youth and experience. A combination that allowed them to win the team bronze medal. Two days later, Charlotte Dujardin also won another medal, this time in the individual competition. The London and Rio Olympic Champion is still a formidable competitor.
The talent and generosity of little Gio (Apache) touched spectators throughout the world through their screens. Will he one day follow in Valegro's footsteps?
Michael Jung was one of the most anticipated riders. Would he succeed in being crowned the Olympic Champion for the third time in a row? After his two wins in London and Rio with Sam (Stan the Man), the King came close to that feat... if only he hadn't triggered a MIMs clip on cross-country.
Instead, it was Julia Krajewski who climbed onto the highest step of the podium. It was a nice reward for this talented rider who hardly dared to dream of the Games a few months ago since her mount, Amande de B'Néville (Oscar des Fontaines) was still relatively inexperienced and her star horse, Samourai du Thot (Milor Landais), had been retired early.
Endowed with a good gallop, a lot of energy and an excellent jumping style, Amande de B'Néville was a real eye-catcher at this Olympiad. This solid Selle Français was however not predestined for eventing but for show jumping... Just goes to show!
The English metronomes of Oliver Townend/Ballaghmor Class, Laura Collett/London 52 and Tom McEwen/Toledo de Kerser took team gold after leading from start to finish.
The Australian team (Shane Rose, Andrew Hoy and Kevin McNab) were all smiles for the cameras after their second place. Andrew Hoy also won the individual bronze with Vassily de Lassos (Jaguar Mail), almost 40 years after his first Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984! At 62 years old, he was certainly a veteran, but that didn’t prevent him from putting on a show in all three tests.
Speaking of veterans, a special mention goes to Tayberry (Feridoon), the 20-year-old (!) mount of Hong Kong rider Thomas Heffernan HO.
After many ups and downs, the French showed great team spirit and determination to win bronze. On paper, Nicolas Touzaint, Karim Laghouag and Christopher Six may not have been the favorites in the dressage, but they were flawless in the cross-country and show jumping phases.
In addition to mentioning the performances of these three combinations, we must underline the success of French breeding which took all of the places on the podium.
Each Olympiad has its share of wonderful surprises. Fouaad Mirza and Seigneur’s (Seigneur d'Alleray) performance was certainly one of them. The author of a wonderful dressage recovery and a good cross-country round, the pair finished 23rd in the end.
There was no time to take a break: the next day, the show jumping horses and their riders took full possession of the Baji Koen arena, whose obstacles had been particularly well cared for. In addition to the beautiful plant decorations, each obstacle had been built in connection with the Japanese culture. The Olympic Games’ website offered a detailed description of each course. Here, for example..
Having just missed out on the individual gold during the European Championships in Rotterdam, Ben Maher and Explosion W (Chacco-Blue) were without question the favorites of the individual competition. They didn’t disappoint. After three clear rounds and a supersonic jump-off, they finally secured the Holy Grail. For a moment, the legendary British composure gave way to a few tears on the podium alongside Peder Fredricson and Maikel van der Vleuten.
Japan put in a repeat performance. After Kazuma Tomoto and Vinci de la Vigne’s (Esterel des Bois) chocolate medal in the eventing competition, Daisuke Fukushima distinguished himself in the show jumping competition with a sixth place in the individual competition with Chanyon (Chacco-Blue). It was a nice surprise and above all a nice reward for these riders who have put a lot of effort into representing their country at home.
The Swedes were getting jittery. They had been untouchable from the beginning of the week, but they made two mistakes in the last team round, forcing them to jump off against the United States to decide between the gold and silver medals. In the end, they managed to win thanks to their exceptional combinations: Peder Fredricson/All In, Henrik von Eckermann/King Edward and Malin Baryard-Johnsson/Indiana.
Five years after Rio, Peder Fredricson and All In managed to win two more Olympic medals, a real feat for this horse who has come a long way after suffering from colic on several occasions. Peder Fredricson is always present on big occasions, and once again he managed to steer his endearing little star to the top.
However, the best horse of these Games was King Edward (Edward 28). Loaned by Swiss rider Janika Sprunger at the beginning of her pregnancy to her Swedish companion Henrik von Eckermann, the chestnut didn’t drop a rail in six courses. It was a great feat that was achieved with heart and style and promises a bright future.
The riders from the United States (Laura Kraut, Jessica Springsteen and McLain Ward) and Belgium (Pieter Devos, Jérôme Guery and Grégory Wathelet), all in silver and bronze, were wearing big smiles on the podium. The Red Devils’ the last Olympic medal was at the Montreal Olympics in 1976!
Photo credit: FEI, Dirk Caremans, Christophe Tanière, Libby Law, Kai Försterling & Sporfot.com