Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dressage Preview

Celebrating Germany’s 13th Olympic Dressage team gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games: (L to R) Isabell Werth, Dorothee Schneider, Sönke Rothenberger and Kristina Bröring-Sprehe. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dressage Preview

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dressage is ready to take place between the 24 and 25 July 2021. Here’s what to expect from the equestrian dressage competition in Tokyo.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dressage Teams

In this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, there are 60 horse/athlete combinations taking part in the dressage discipline.

There will be 30 countries represented on the Olympic stage. 15 teams will take part in the team competition and 15 countries will be represented by individual athletes.

Team Germany are defending team champions and are chasing down their 14th Olympic Equestrian Dressage team title

In the history of Olympic Equestrian Dressage, dating back to 1912, Germany has long been the dominant force. They have taken 13 team and 7 individual titles in total.

Meanwhile, Team GB are also strong. Two returning Olympic gold medalist return to the stage in Britian’s team, also joined by a rising star in the sport.

Other teams to look out for include France, the USA, and the Netherlands, who have all had competitors place in Olympic medal positions more recently.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dressage Competitions

Defending the individual champion title is Team GB’s Charlotte Dujardin. She scooped double-gold with the infamous Valegro at London 2012 and individual gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Dujardin and Valegro consistently set World Records throughout their spectacular career together and continue to hold all three World Records in Dressage (FEI Grand Prix, FEI Grand Prix Special and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle). At the London International Horse Show in 2014, they set the Grand Prix record at 87.460%,. They also posted a new Freestyle World Record when achieving 94.300% at the same event.

The Grand Prix Special World Record score of 88.022%, which they set at Hagen (GER) in 2012 has never been beaten.

However, this year Dujardin joins the Team GB Olympic Dressage Squad with new horse, Gio. Catching the Olympian’s eye in 2016, the chestnut gelding has proved himself, winning his debut international class at FEI GP level.

Team Germany’s Isabell Werth will be competing in her sixth Olympic Games. The most medalled athlete in the history of equestrian sport, she has 10 Olympic medals in her trophy cabinet and six of them are gold, the first awarded in Barcelona, Spain in 1992 and the last at Rio de Janeiro (BRA) in 2016

At Rio, Werth surpassed the record held for many years by The Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven, who collected nine Olympic medals throughout her spectacular career.

A less obvious show stealer is Australia’s Mary Hanna. Equestrian fans from across the world are already putting their hearts behind this mother of two and grandmother of four. At the age of 66, she is tackling her sixth Olympics and has been part of the Olympic team since 1996 (ecx. Beijing 2008).

Meanwhile, Singapore makes history by entering their first athlete in equestrian sport to the Olympic Games. Caroline Chew will first Singaporean equestrian athlete to compete at an Olympic Games when she participates in Dressage competition.

Tokyo 2020 Dressage Schedule

Competition begins with the FEI Grand Prix test. All athletes must participate in the competition taking place on 24 and 25 July. This is a qualifier for team and inidividual competition. The qualification ranking will be decided by the results of all three team members.

Athletes compete in six groups, with three groups competing on each day. The composition of the groups is based on the FEI World Ranking list position of the athlete/horse combination on the date of definite entries (5 July 2021).

The top eight teams in the FEI Grand Prix qualifier will then go onto FEI Grand Prix Special (team competition) on 27 July. This will also act the second individual qualifier with the top 18 individuals then going through to the Freestyle Final (individual final) on 28 July.

During the period between the Team Qualifier (Grand Prix) and up to two hours before the start of the Team Final (Grand Prix Special), the Chef d’Equipe may substitute an athlete/horse combination. However, the substitute combination will not be entitled to compete in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.

The Freestyle to Music is a standalone competition to decide the individual champion.

How to Watch The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dressage

Watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dressage at bbc.co.uk/sport/ or at Eurosport.co.uk.

For the full viewing schedule, click here.

Header Image: Celebrating Germany’s 13th Olympic Dressage team gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games: (L to R) Isabell Werth, Dorothee Schneider, Sönke Rothenberger and Kristina Bröring-Sprehe. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

 

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Everything Horse Magazine Issue 43, July 2021

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