Host City: Athina, Greece
Date Started: August 15, 2004
Date Finished: August 27, 2004
Participants: 203 (137 men and 66 women) from 38 countries
Youngest Participant: Victoria Max-Theurer (18 years, 300 days)
Oldest Participant: Ian Millar (57 years, 229 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 7 athletes with 2 medals
Most Medals (Country): United States (5 medals)
Barring the absence of a team dressage event in 1960, the Olympic equestrian schedule has remained at the same six events since the Amsterdam Games of 1928 though individual events have changed their format on occasion. In 2004 a major change to the three-day event saw the new short format cross-country phase introduced with the abolition of the steeplechase and “roads and tracks” phases.
Competition took place at the newly built Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre on the outskirts of Athina, a venue that could hold between 8,000 and 15,000 spectators depending on the event being held. Qualification for the Games was earned by performances at the World Equestrian Games and continental championships and by the FEI world rankings. A few wildcard entries were also invited, and 203 riders eventually took part.
The programme ran from the 15th August, the first day of dressage at the three day event, to the 27th and the climax of the show jumping. The actual competitions provided some of the most contentious moments of the Athina Olympics. Of the six events, only in the two dressage events did the original champions get to keep their gold medals. A mixture of positive dope tests and rulings from the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) meant that the final results for a number of events were not ratified until well after the Games had ended.
Eight nations won medals with the six events won by six different nations. The United States led the medal list with five, followed by Germany with four, and Great Britain with three.