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Equestrianism at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games

2016 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games


Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date Started: August 6, 2016
Date Finished: August 19, 2016
Events: 6

Participants: 200 (125 men and 75 women) from 43 countries
Youngest Participant: BRA Giovana Pass (18 years, 134 days)
Oldest Participant: NZL Julie Brougham (62 years, 83 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 5 athletes with 2 medals
Most Medals (Country): GER Germany (6 medals)


The equestrian events at the 2016 Summer Olympics were held, generally in front of sparse crowds, at Rio’s National Equestrian Center, which formed part of the Parque Olímpico de Deodoro. The only change in regulations since 2012 concerned the size of teams in dressage and eventing. Prior to the Rio Games dressage teams comprised of three rider/horse combinations while eventing had five. This was now evened out so that both disciplines had teams of four.

Eight countries won medals in Rio but the championships were shared between three of the sport’s traditionally strong nations. France took two team gold medals, Great Britain two individual golds, and Germany took one of each. In dressage Germany recovered from their loss to Great Britain in 2012 to turn the tables on the British and return to their usual position as team champions, although [Charlotte Dujardin] retained her title as individual champion.

Individual eventing gold went to the incomparable [Michael Jung] of Germany, who retained his Olympic title after being the dominant force in the sport for nearly six years. It was not quite enough, however, to see Germany through to another team title, as France edged them by less than four penalties. A single extra pole dislodged would have dropped France to silver behind Germany, two to bronze, and three would have dropped them outside the medals.

A desperately close finale to the team show jumping saw France win the title in a titanic struggle with the USA but this was, in many ways, just a prelude to a remarkable individual competition. Six riders achieved a perfect record in the final, so a jump-off against the clock was required to decide the medal positions. First to go was 58-year-old Briton [Nick Skelton] and he rode a fast and clear round that no one else could match. Skelton, who had first been selected for the British Olympic team that had been withdrawn by their equestrian federation prior to the Moscow Olympics, finally won an individual gold 36 years after gaining team silver at the alternative Olympic equestrian event held for boycotting nations in 1980.