Jul 08, 2021
Showjumping, eventing and dressage are the three equestrian sports taking place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. In this competition, riders have to perform a series of jumps in numerical order in the fastest time possible to win.
Who should we be focusing on in these Olympic Games? Who has been the most successful at horse riding in the history of the sport and what role does jumping have in the modern pentathlon? We will be answering these and more questions below.
Currently, the reigning Olympic show jumping champion is Great Britain’s Nick Skelton who scored individual gold at Rio 2016 and retired in 2017 after his seventh Olympic Games. Skelton and Ben Maher helped Britain achieve the team gold at London 2012, and the latter is still riding strong as he won silver at the 2019 European Championships.
Countries such as the USA, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Brazil and Sweden are among the leading nations for the showjumping discipline at the Olympic Games. These include some of the world’s most successful riders such as Steve Guerdat, former number one, or Daniel Deusser, the current leading rider.
Martin Fuchs won in Rotterdam and was also second at the 2018 World Equestrian Games. He is part of a strong Swiss team together with Steve Guerdat, the individual gold medallist at London 2012.
The United States won the team gold at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 with Beezie Madden and McLain Ward. The Swedes are also a country to look for as Peder Fredricson is hoping to do better than in Rio where he took the silver medal home also, he is the current number 2 in the LGCT Standings.
With the new format implemented at the Olympic Games for this year’s team showjumping competition, only three athletes will be competing for each country. Every score will be included in the team’s final tally.
Before, four athletes competed in the Olympics and only the three best scores were considered.
For more information regarding the format, venue and schedule, follow this link.
Hans Günther Winkler is considered the most successful equestrian jumper in Olympic history as he was the reigning two-time individual world champion. He debuted in the Olympic Games in 1956 when the equestrian events took place in Stockholm due to Australia’s strict quarantine measures.
He won gold with four faults despite the pain of a pulled groin muscle. He beat the Italian D’Inzeo brothers and helped All-Germany win the team gold.
Four years later in Rome, Winkler was fifth as Raimondo won the gold medal, but he successfully defended the team title. This repeated at Tokyo 1964, the last Games for the All-German team.
In Mexico City 1968 he took the bronze home with West Germany and they won the title in Munich four years later. Winkler remains the only jumper to win five Olympic gold medals and the only equestrian rider to claim medals at six different Games. This is an achievement Isabell Werth could match in the Tokyo Olympics.