Landing team bronze in today’s team dressage in Tokyo sees Charlotte Dujardin equal a British record as a female athlete to win the most Olympic medals.
This is Charlotte’s fifth medal, after dual gold at London 2012 followed by team silver and individual gold in Rio four years later.
It means the British rider has matched the record held by rower Dame Katherine Grainger and tennis player Kathleen McKane Godfree, who both have five Olympic medals to their names.
If Charlotte wins an individual medal in tomorrow’s Freestyle — which she has every chance of doing — she will not only become Britain’s most medalled female athlete but the first ever to claim three Olympic golds.
“It’s a huge honour to come and represent your country,” said Charlotte. “To come away with another medal, I’m so proud. And to be among so many other incredible, inspiring women — I’m so happy.”
Charlotte, 36, is riding Gio (‘Pumpkin’) in Japan and said she is “over the moon” with how the inexperienced 10-year-old has performed.
“That’s only the second time he’s ever gone through that Grand Prix special,” she said. “The few mistakes he had [in the one-time changes] are just lack of experience, but he tried so hard.
“With more competitions under our belt I’m sure there will be more of these [medals] and of a different colour.”
Later on Facebook, Charlotte hailed an “incredible arena, amazing teammates and a horse who tried his absolute best for me”.
“Today is laced in gold for me as Pumpkin is still a horse so new to the higher levels,” she said. “He has the biggest heart and it is such a privilege to ride him. I’m lost for words.”
‘Speechless, but proud’
British teammate Carl Hester, contesting his sixth Games and landing his third Olympic medal, said the second stage of the Grand Prix was “a hard fought battle”.
All three British horses — Carl’s En Vogue, Lottie Fry’s Everdale and Charlotte’s Gio — were making their Olympic debut, as was 25-year-old Lottie.
“I said yesterday that I wasn’t sure how it would come together because we haven’t been competing against other [nations, due to Covid], we’ve been preparing by competing against each other,” said the 54-year-old, who is Team GB’s oldest athlete competing in Tokyo.
“You know, we’ve got young Lottie and young horses but it all came together and [winning] any medal is a dream come true.”
Carl made contested his first Olympics at the 1992 Barcelona Games, where he rode alongside Lottie’s mother, Laura.
Lottie, who first started training with Carl when she was 14, said she was “speechless” to have won an Olympic medal.
“I’m pretty speechless but very proud,” she said. “It’s surreal stood here between the king and queen of dressage.”
All three British riders go forward to tomorrow’s Freestyle, where they will bid for an individual medal and a possible third successive individual title for defending champion Charlotte Dujardin.
Germany secured their 14th team gold today, ahead of the USA in silver.
Main photo supplied by British Equestrian/Jon Stroud Media