- British rider and horse Valegro don’t put a foot wrong in very British six-minute routine to claim 23rd gold of the Olympics
- Music included ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’ and the chimes of Big Ben
- Fellow Brit Laura Bechtolsheimer takes the bronze medal
- Success for Nicola Adams, and a 24th gold, follows soon after
16:12, 9 August 2012
17:25, 9 August 2012
Charlotte Dujardin won Great Britain’s 23rd gold medal of the Olympics with a perfect and patriotic routine on her horse Valegro in the individual dressage.
The last rider at Greenwich Park, it was essential Dujardin and her horse didn’t miss a beat in a six-minute routine set to British classics ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’ and the Great escape film theme.
A partisan home crowd went wild as it was announced Dujardin has taken gold following an immaculate performance with a score of 90.089 per cent, ahead of Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen in silver and fellow Brit Laura Bechtolsheimer in bronze.
And there was a 24th gold for Britain a short time later as Nicola Adams won her boxing final.
Gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin salutes the Greenwich Park crowd after her victory in the Individual Dressage took Great Britain’s gold medal tally to 23
Dujardin shows off her gold medal on a lap of honour with her horse Valegro following a perfect routine in the Olympic Individual Dressage final
The music for her six-minute routine included patriotic classics ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘I Vow to Thee, My country’
Dujardin salutes the crowd from the top step of the podium, flanked by Laura Bechtolsheimer, who won bronze
Her very British routine had dazzled at a pre-Olympics Test event and was a smash with the 23,000 crowd and the judges here.
It was essential both rider and horse were perfect with every step as Cornelissen had overtaken Bechtolsheimer into top place and not a foot was put wrong.
The patriotic refrains of ‘I Vow to
Thee, My Country,’ the poem by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice set to music by
Gustav Holst, and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, by Edward Elgar, went down a
The music also included the James Bond Live and Let Die theme song for the extended trot section and the chimes of Big Ben.
Dujardin wiped away a tear at the end of her routine but had to endure an agonising wait before the judges’ scores were displayed in the stadium, accompanied by an thunderous cheer.
Today’s medal successes mean London 2012 is the most successful Olympics ever for Britain’s equestrian team.
The other British rider, Carl Hester on ‘Uthopia,’ finished fifth. All three already have gold medals after winning the Team Dressage event earlier in the week.
Dujardin wipes away a tear after completing her routine at Greenwich Park
An embrace between the gold medal winner Dujardin and bronze winner Bechtolsheimer on the podium
The Equestrian venue at Greenwich Park was once again packed for the Individual Dressage event this afternoon
The emotion gets a little too much for Dujardin after she collects her gold medal
Dujardin received a massive score from the judges and ran straight to her mum Jane to celebrate
Dujardin’s mother Jane said afterwards: ‘The pressure was really on. I am just so proud. It is just unbelievable.
‘When we talked about doing it, we said (the music) should be something patriotic because it was on home ground.’
Mrs Dujardin admitted she was a bag of nerves before the competition but said her daughter was a ‘cool customer’.
She also talked about the financial difficulties of getting into equestrian dressage.
‘When my mum died, I was lucky enough to have some inheritance money,’ she said.
‘I just knew that I had to put that money towards buying Charlotte a horse. Fortunately, she could make a donkey do anything.’
Laura Bechtolsheimer with her bronze medal – the German-born 27-year-old was in the lead for a short time
Hester said afterwards: ‘It’s been an emotional and long year for us to keep the horses going. Without the horse, we’re nothing. To keep two horses in this peak, to finish the top five at the Olympics, is very hard and takes a lot of management.
‘Every morning you walk out into the yard and think please, please, they’ll be all right.
‘We’ve had so much back-up. Thank goodness for the world-class team behind us and the lottery that helped us keep this think going. We treat them as super athletes and I think they’ve repaid everybody with what they’ve done.’
Dujardin, 27, was born in Enfield and is based in Newent, Gloucestershire. She is a four-time winner of the Horse of the Year Show and a three-time winner at Hickstead.
German-born Bechtolsheimer, 27, is the granddaughter of the billionaire German property magnate Karl-Heinz Kipp.
Her family moved to Ampney St Peter in Gloucestershire when she was just one and she started riding at the age of three on a pony called Peacock.
Bechtolsheimer started to concentrate on the dressage at the age of 13 and was the youngest British champion aged 20 in 2005.
This graphic compares Great Britain’s medal tally at London 2012 to Beijing 2008. Today’s successes took the number of golds to 24
DANCING HORSES! THE BLUFFER’S GUIDE TO DRESSAGE
The British team may now be the reigning Olympic dressage champions but spectators would be forgiven for wondering what this most rarefied of equine sports is all about.
The discipline dubbed “horse dancing” may not look as challenging as the imposing fences on a cross-country course or possess the theatrical element of showjumping, but it is a highly technical test for both horse and rider.
Today’s event, the individual freestyle to music, was dressage in its most elevated form.
The contest allows the rider to choreograph a routine which must combine a certain number of complex movements within a six minute time frame.
This is then set to music which should complement the performance.
Edward Gal of the Netherlands competes in the Individual dressage today – the event requires years of practice and an amazing affinity between rider and horse
Each rider is marked on his or her technical and artistic expertise, with judges scrutinising rhythm, harmony and the choice of music.
Higher points are likely to be awarded when riders attempt particularly challenging manoeuvres.
Of particular note is the pirouette – where the animal effectively turns a full circle, with its hind-quarters at the centre – and the piaffe, a highly collected and cadenced trot where the horse remains in one place.
In each case, the rider must put his or her mount through its paces, performing more complex movements than are seen in the team event.
Producing these results takes years of training as a horse must learn to respond to a series of hand and leg signals.
Over time, it will come to associate tiny shifts in the rider’s position with certain movements.
The objective is for the combination to work calmly together with top marks going to the most elegant partnerships.
The goal should always be to achieve harmony between horse and rider, with the animal showing a willingness to perform.
A routine should not look forced and riders can use any music they wish – with the competition showcasing everything from Tchaikovsky to The Black Eyed Peas.
The use of sound effects, such as Dujardin’s decision to incorporate the chimes of Big Ben – is also encouraged.
Results are determined by combining both technical and artistic marks and the final score is shown as a percentage.
Dressage has been an Olympic sport since 1912. It was a discipline reserved for army officers until 1952 when it became a mixed event.
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I watched this in the US and it made me prouder than ever to be British. It was beautiful! Well done!
Grow up you Aussies – you are such poor losers – get a life!
What country is that surname from though?
- PK, NCL, 9/8/2012 16:44
It sounds French, although she was born in Enfield.
Absolutely phenomenal performance by Dujardin. I was really afraid that because she was the last to compete, she might have been put off by her rivals’ excellent performances. But no, Charlotte charged ahead and dazzled everyone. Very well done to bCharlotte Dujarding/b (a score of 90.089 is just WOW!), bLaura Bechtolsheimer/b (with a great score of 84.334), as well as bAdelinde Cornelissen/b from the Netherlands who came second with a score of 88.186, bHelen Langehanenberg/b (fourht) and bCarl Hester/b (fifth). Thoroughly enjoyed every second of the Dressage. And to those who say it’s not a “real” sport – thing again. It takes exceptional discipline and complete harmony from both the rider and the horse, not to mention years of hard work. And it’s not “elitist” sport either: Charlotte Dujardin came from a very middle-class background. She actually cleaned the stables to be able to ride. That’s was dedication and hard work do – in any sport.
What an inspiration girl, both you and Valero are absolute stars, grit, determination and pure talent got you what you both wholly deserve. Made for emotional viewing.
I’ve never seen this before but loved it. They all done well
Come on DM, a five year old could do better. The photo title on the main UK page says ‘I voe to three my country’……abysmal
- Oh boy, sitting here in the hot US sun, 09/8/2012 16:49**********************************************************
So you DON’T voe to three your country?!? What an appsoplute disglace.
Watched it here in Australia and we feel the Dutch girl was robbed of the Gold Medal. No doubt this will get a mass of red arrows. But that is fact, horse was much better all around. – Ann, Australia, 9/8/2012 16:42
Are you an expert in dressage then Ann? i thought that Adelinde was giong to win but the point is that at this level the differences are so tiny that unless you are a expert, you wouldn’t be able to tell who was better.
Pleased for the Gold, but the horse worked hard too. She jumped off the horse to get hugged by everyone nearby, and never once gave the horse a pat to say thanks.
Just amazing. Watched them all and cried at the end. Feel slightly sorry for Carl but I do think the top three were incredible. Go team GB!!!!
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