Charlotte Dujardin has said she “was never going down with a fight” after clinching her sixth Olympic medal — bronze — at the Tokyo Olympics today (28 July).
The 36-year-old rider added that she had never ridden Gio (‘Pumpkin’) through their Freestyle test before.
“I was never going down without a fight, but Pumpkin (Gio) has only done one other Freestyle in his life and for him to go out there with as little experience as he has is truly outstanding,” said Charlotte.
“We never did this floorplan before and he didn’t know what he was doing and I didn’t know what I was doing, but we just went out to have a really good time and enjoy ourselves, and we did that. I’m really proud of him.”
Charlotte’s sixth medal makes her Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian of all time.
“My journey with Valegro was a life-changing experience and to find another Valegro is near enough impossible,” she said.
“I’m incredibly proud to have another horse here at the Olympic Games that I bought as a five-year-old, trained him up and took two medals here — it’s incredible to achieve that.
“Coming here we really didn’t know what to expect. Gio is a horse with very little experience, that is only the second Freestyle he’s ever done,” continued Charlotte.
“To come to each Olympics and medal team and individually every time — I did it twice with Valegro [at the London and Rio Games] and to come with a new dance partner, very inexperienced and very young, and come away with two medals again — I couldn’t be prouder!”
‘100% with me’
Germany’s individual gold medallist Jessica von Bredow-Werndl dominated throughout the competition, recording the biggest score in the opening Grand Prix and then setting a new Olympic record in yesterday’s Special to lead her country to team glory.
Incredible stuff for a riding making her Olympic debut.
Riding the mare TSF Dalera, Jessica was the only rider to break into the 90s. She earned a staggering 81 perfect 10s across her three tests. Individual silver medallist Isabell Werth earned 66, while Charlotte and Gio were awarded eight.
“I felt from the very first second to the last that she was 100% with me — listening so well that I had to be careful not to do too much or too little,” said Jessica, who has partnered the 14-year-old mare for many years now, including at the 2019 European Championships.
“We didn’t have such a lucky start in the Grand Prix or the Special there, but in the Freestyle we showed that anything is possible and from then on I began believing the Olympic dream could come true,” added Jessica.
‘A tough competition’
Individual silver medallist Isabell Werth (Bella Rose 2) was asked what it was like to no longer be the number one German rider: “If you follow the results of the last 30 years I have not always been number one, it has been up and down all the time and I’m happy today because Bella felt fantastic.
“This was a tough sporting competition and that’s what we all want to have and love to have. You can’t have 10 winners, you can only have one, that is sport.”
Today’s individual silver in the Freestyle brings the total number of Olympic medals won by Isabell to 12, including six team golds and one individual gold, plus five individual silver.
She contested her first Games in Barcelona in 1992 and, until Jessica’s gold in Tokyo, was the last German rider to take the individual Olympic title riding Gigolo at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.