Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Greenwich Park, Greenwich, London
Date Started: August 2, 2012
Date Finished: August 9, 2012
The drift into semi-retirement of three-time Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven after the Beijing Olympics meant that, for the first time in a generation, the road to the London Olympics appeared unpredictable. By the half-way point of the Olympic cycle that unpredictability had faded away in the knowledge that the nearly crowned World Champion pairing of Dutch rider Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas would dominate the dressage world for many years to come. Ironically it was their performance in winning three gold medals at the 2010 World Equestrian Games that ruined their chances of Olympic glory. A business consortium led by former German Olympic riders Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff and Paul Schockemöhle bought Totilas from his Dutch owners for a fee variously reported at between €10-15 million with the intention of mixing his competitive career with lucrative stud duties. Linsenhoff's stepson Mathias Rath took over the ride from Gal but the pairing never rose to the same level as Totilas' showing in 2010 and their dreams of Olympic glory faded when Rath was sidelined with mononucleosis (glandular fever) in the spring of 2012.
The mantle of favourite was inherited by Adelinde Cornelissen, a Dutch rider who had won both individual titles at the 2011 European Championships with Britain's Carl Hester seemingly the main threat to her title challenge. Another British rider, Charlotte Dujardin, had made a huge improvement in partnership with [Valegro] over the previous 12 months and arrived at the Games with the highest score of the year to date.
Dujardin had only made her international début in the spring of 2011 but took to the Olympic arena like a seasoned veteran and posted the best scores in each of the two qualifying rounds. In the culminating Grand Prix freestyle Cornelissen set an imposing score of 88.196 but, with a routine set to patriotic British music, the theme to the James Bond film "Live and Let Die" and the chimes of Big Ben, Dujardin and Valegro outscored her by two clear percentage points. There was some controversy about the scoring as Valegro had made a clear mistake near the end of his round and afterwards the judges explained that they had favoured the more relaxed "soft hands" riding style of the Briton over the more powerful style of Cornelissen.
Back in 41st place was Japanese rider Hiroshi Hoketsu who at 71-years-old was the oldest Olympian since Austrian fencer Arthur von Pongracz competed at the Berlin Games of 1936. Eight places behind Hoketsu was Morocco's Yassine Rahmouni who was the first African dressage rider to compete at the Olympics. The Dutch born rider was given a chance to compete at the Olympics when he met King Mohammed VI after jet skiing on his holiday to Morocco. Princess Lalla Amina (president of the Moroccan Equestrian Federation) decided to help him by buying a horse ([Floresco]) allowing him to compete at the highest level.
|1||Charlotte Dujardin||27||Great Britain||GBR||Valegro||Gold|
|3||Laura Bechtolsheimer||27||Great Britain||GBR||Mistral Hojris||Bronze|
|4||Helen Langehanenberg||30||Germany||GER||Damon Hill|
|5||Carl Hester||45||Great Britain||GBR||Uthopia|
|6||Anky van Grunsven||44||Netherlands||NED||Salinero|
|7||Dorothee Schneider||43||Germany||GER||Diva Royal|
|11||Tinne Wilhelmsson-Silfvén||45||Sweden||SWE||Don Auriello|
|12||Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein||37||Denmark||DEN||Digby|
|15||Valentina Truppa||26||Italy||ITA||Eremo del Castegno|
|17||Steffen Peters||47||United States||USA||Ravel|
|21||Anne Jensen-van Olst||50||Denmark||DEN||Clearwater|
|23||Morgan Barbançon||19||Spain||ESP||Painted Black|
|24||Ashley Nicoll-Holzer||48||Canada||CAN||Breaking Dawn|
|25||Tina Konyot||50||United States||USA||Calecto V|
|26||Richard Davison||56||Great Britain||GBR||Artemis|
|28||Jan Ebeling||53||United States||USA||Rafalca|
|29||José Daniel Martín||38||Spain||ESP||Grandioso|
|30||Mikaela Lindh||42||Finland||FIN||Más Guapo|
|32||Patrick van der Meer||41||Netherlands||NED||Uzzo|
|37||Adrienne Lyle||27||United States||USA||Wizard|
|39||Lyndal Oatley||32||Australia||AUS||Sandro Boy|
|48||Louisa Hill||50||New Zealand||NZL||Antonello|