Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, winner of the individual show jumping gold medal at the London Olympics 2012, is hoping to claim back-to-back individual gold in Rio de Janeiro. If he manages to take the top-spot then this will be the very first jumping athlete to do so in the history of the Olympics.
When Belgium’s Aime Haegeman rode Benton ll to victory in Paris in 1900, no rider has achieved coming back and doing it again, and Steve’s achievement would be all the more remarkable as he is riding the same horse, Nino des Buissonnets in Rio, as he did four years ago in London.
Steve Guerdat’s last major triumphs with the same brave horse was in the Grand Prix at Geneva, Switzerland in December, and he also jumped a stunning double-clear in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping leg in Rotterdam in June, where the Swiss team finished second.
The defending team champions from Team GB are Nick Skelton and Ben Maher. Nick has nursed his London 2012 partner, Big Star, back to full fitness ahead of Rio and they have achieved some impressive recent performances. Meanwhile, although it may be 32 years since the legendary Whitaker brothers Michael (56) and John (60) took Olympic team silver in Los Angeles (USA), they are also ready to fight for the title, even though Michael is suffering from broken ribs following a freak fall while training a horse at home just a few days ago.