Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre, Markopoulo
Date Started: August 20, 2004
Date Finished: August 25, 2004
Format: Average score in three rounds determines final placements.
|Gold:||Anky van Grunsven|
Over the past three Olympic Games, the duel between Germany’s Isabell Werth riding Gigolo and Dutchwoman Anky van Grunsven on Bonfire has intensified into probably the greatest rivalry in the history of the sport. Their final Olympic meeting in Sydney was considered by some as one of the highlights of the Games.
By the time of Athens both horses had long retired and Isabell Werth was not even in the German team. Anky van Grunsven travelled as part of the Dutch team albeit with low expectations following a series of personal setbacks and the mantle of favourite had passed to Sydney bronze medallist Ulla Salzgeber of Germany.
Van Grunsven, Sweden’s Jan Brink, Beatriz Ferrer-Salat of Spain and the rest of the German team were expected to challenge.
With the elimination on medical grounds of one of the Greek horses and the withdrawal of a Swiss entrant there were 51 starters for the first phase of the event. These first two days of competition doubled as both the team event and the first round of the individual event, the top 25 riders moving into the second phase of competition although no more than three riders from each country could progress. Salzgeber’s test put her in a clear lead of over 3.5 points, the difference between the leader and second being more than the difference between second and twelfth place. Ferrar-Salat and Van Grunsven occupied second and third with Schaudt of Germany and McDonald of America on their heels.
If Salzgeber had been outstanding in the first stage of the event it was the turn of Van Grunsven and her horse Salinero to excel in the second phase, the Grand Prix Special Test. Van Grunsven’s score of 77.80 was nearly three whole points clear of Salzgeber although the German maintained a small overall lead of half a point. Another solid performance from Ferrar-Salat put her in third place ahead of Debbie McDonald. Relatively disappointing displays by Brink and Schaudt suggested that the first four riders would contest the medals.
In the deciding Kür (freestyle to music) segment Van Grunsven entered the arena before Salzgeber. Performing to a piece entitled "Esprit Chanson (The Spirit of the Song)" by the Dutch composers Cees Slings and Viktor Kerkhof, Salinero barely made an error and received a number of perfect tens from the judges. A superb score of 85.525 meant that Salzgeber would have to perform at the highest level to secure the championship. Salzgeber’s final score of 83.450 had only been beaten by Van Grunsven in Olympic Kür tests but was not enough to deny the Dutchwoman successive Olympic championships. She became only the third rider to retain the individual title and the first to win individual medals in three successive games. Beatriz Ferrer-Salat’s bronze medal was Spain’s first individual medal in Olympic dressage.
At the time of the Athens Games Anky van Grunsven was over five months pregnant, her first son Yannick was born on the 23rd of November 2004.
|1||Anky van Grunsven||36||Netherlands||NED||Salinero||Gold||79.278|
|2||Ulla Salzgeber||46||Germany||GER||Rusty 47||Silver||78.833|
|4||Debbie McDonald||49||United States||USA||Brentina||75.653|
|5||Hubertus Schmidt||44||Germany||GER||Wansuela Suerte||74.883|
|6||Robert Dover||48||United States||USA||Kennedy||74.713|
|7||Jan Brink||43||Sweden||SWE||Briar 899||73.727|
|12||Juan Antonio Jiménez||45||Spain||ESP||Guizo||71.644|
|13||Carl Hester||37||Great Britain||GBR||Escapado||71.561|
|14||Guenter Seidel||43||United States||USA||Aragon||71.447|
|15||Martin Schaudt||45||Germany||GER||Weltall VA||69.656|
|17||Sven Rothenberger||38||Netherlands||NED||Barclay II||69.437|
|18||Silvia Iklé||55||Switzerland||SUI||Salieri CH||69.101|
|19||Jon Pedersen||47||Denmark||DEN||Esprit De Valdemar||69.080|
|20||Victoria Max-Theurer||18||Austria||AUT||Falcao 12||68.753|
|21||Karen Tebar||39||France||FRA||Falada M||67.699|
|22||Richard Davison||48||Great Britain||GBR||Ballaseyr Royale||67.351|
|26||Heike Kemmer||42||Germany||GER||Bonaparte 67||71.292|
|27||Lisa Wilcox||37||United States||USA||Relevant 5||68.792|
|28||Emma Hindle||29||Great Britain||GBR||Wie Weltmeyer||67.500|
|29||Tinne Wilhelmsson-Silfvén||37||Sweden||SWE||Just Mickey||66.917|
|31T||Louise Nathhorst||49||Sweden||SWE||Guinness 888||66.583|
|34||Nicola McGivern||37||Great Britain||GBR||Active Walero 18||66.458|
|36||Belinda Trussell||32||Canada||CAN||Royan II||66.000|
|38||Lone Castrup Jørgensen||42||Denmark||DEN||Ludewig G||65.750|
|40||Minna Telde||29||Sweden||SWE||Sack 907||65.375|
|43||Marlies Anne van Baalen||23||Netherlands||NED||Idocus||64.583|
|46||Cesar Alberto Parra||41||Colombia||COL||Galant Du Serein||62.917|
|47||Alexandra Sourla||31||Greece||GRE||Gregory 75||62.833|
|48||Peter Gmoser||33||Austria||AUT||Don Debussy||62.750|
|49||Louisa Hill||42||New Zealand||NZL||Gabana||62.708|
|50||Heike Holstein||32||Ireland||IRL||Welt Adel||60.417|