Germany’s Michael Jung is the individual dressage leader going into the cross-country phase at the Tokyo Olympics; Great Britain is still out in front in the team standings.
The two-time defending champion — Michael won individual gold at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games riding La Biosthetique Sam FBW — sailed ahead of Britain’s Oliver Townend during the third and final session of dressage.
If Michael wins individual gold in Tokyo, he will be the first-ever event rider to be crowned individual Olympic champion three times in a row.
The German scored 21.1 with 13-year-old Chipmunk FRH. Oliver is 2.5 penalties adrift on 23.6, with China’s Alex Hua Tian lying third overnight on 23.9.
Jung was really pleased with his 13-year-old gelding Chipmunk.
“We had a very good partnership today; everything worked like I wished,” said Michael, whose test was watched by International Olympic Committee member Albert II, Prince of Monaco.
“Since the European Championships in 2019 I’ve had more time to train with [Chipmunk],” continued Michael. “We had a long winter to work more and have had many more competitions this year, so everything is going much better.”
Britain out in front
In the team standings, Michael’s score has moved his country into the silver position ahead of the cross-country.
Great Britain’s leading team score is 78.3, just 2.1 penalties ahead of Germany on 80.4.
Britain’s final rider, Tom McEwen, pulled off a solid test with Toledo de Kerser for a 28.9-penalty score and 12th overnight.
A strong test from the final New Zealand rider, Tim Price (Vitali), has promoted the Kiwis to bronze overnight on 86.4.
“That’s good — that’s what we want,” said Tim, who only started riding this horse last year.
“He’s had to do everything right and he’s 95% done that since last year when I first sat on him, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” continued Tim. “I’m very confident in him but it’s a short time in terms of partnership.
“That’s one of the key things on display at the Olympics — the partnership between horse and rider and how they can rely on each other. I’m very confident with him; he’s a very genuine guy and I feel very comfortable on him.”
Tim lies fifth individually, 0.4 of a penalty behind Germany’s Julia Krajewski (Amande de B’neville).
The host nation, Japan, sit fourth while the defending Olympic champions — France — lie ninth.
Their best-placed rider is Christopher Six (Totem de Brecey) in individual 13th.
‘Trying to achieve harmony’
Sweden dropped from overnight second to fifth, while Australia was another to rise up the leaderboard to sixth thanks to Andrew Hoy — who at 62 is the oldest event rider competing in Tokyo — and Vassily de Lassos’ penalty score of 29.6.
“I believe it is the maximum (score) we could have had from today,” said Andrew. “There were tiny little things that I can always improve. The joy I get from riding this horse is unbelievable, and I use one word to describe what I’m trying to achieve: harmony.
“When you see the great riders with harmony then it is poetry in motion.”
A total of 61 horses and riders have travelled to Sea Forest ahead of the cross-country phase, which kicks off at 7.45am JST (11.45pm on Saturday night in the UK).
Team standings after dressage — top 10
- Great Britain 78.3
- Germany 80.4
- New Zealand 86.4
- Japan 90.1
- Sweden 91.1
- Australia 93.4
- China 93.6
- USA 94.6
- France 95.1
- Switzerland 99.2
Individual standings after dressage — top 10
- Michael Jung/Chipmunk FRH (GER) 21.1
- Oliver Townend/Ballaghmor Class (GBR) 23.6
- Alex Hua Tian/Don Geniro (CHN) 23.9
- Julia Krajewski/Amande de B’neville (GER) 25.2
- Tim Price/Vitali (NZL) 25.6
- Laura Collett/London 52 (GBR) 25.8
- Kazuma Tomoto/Vinci de la Vigne (JPN) 25.9
- Felix Vogg/Colero (SUI) 26.7
- = Louise Romeike/Cato 60 (SWE) & Fouaad Mirza/Seigneur (IND) 28
See the full standings here.
Main photo: Michael Jung and Chipmunk. Credit: FEI/Libby Law