Julia Krajewski made history yesterday by becoming the first female equestrian to win an individual gold medal for Olympic eventing. Women have competed against men in eventing since 1964 (someone poetically, at Olympic games also held in Tokyo) but she is first to have earned a gold medal.
Krajewski, who competes for Germany, rode her 11-year old mare, Amande de B’Neville (Mandy). I remember reading somewhere that Krajewski described her mare as “a lion” and “all heart.” She certainly showed that quality in show jumping where those competing for both team and individual medals had to jump twice. Certainly, some of the horses struggled over the course (which was tough) as the heat and cross country got to them with a lot of rails hitting the ground. The course had some tough distances and the fences looked huge.
Krajewski had a tough year and didn’t think she’d make it to the Olympics. Her father died at the beginning of the year and she had to retire her top horse, Samurai Du Thot after he lost his eye as the result of infection. Although she had brought along Chipmonk (now ridden by Michael Jung), when the contract with the owner expired, he sold the horse. That left her with the relatively inexperienced Mandy, who had competed in only two CC14*-L competitions before the Olympics.
British rider Tom McEwen earned the individual silver on Toledo De Kerser and Australian Andrew Hoy won the Bronze on Vassily De Lassos. This is Hoy’s eighth Olympic games. He competed in Los Angeles (1984) at the age of 25 and has won three gold medals. Now at 62, he’s still going strong although he joked that “When people meet me in the Olympic Village they say, you are an official, are you? And they look a bit surprised when I say ‘no, I’m an athlete’!”
Team Gold Goes to Great Britain
Great Britain has won its first team Gold Medal in eventing since Munich in 1972. The team of Oliver Townend, riding Ballaghmor Class, Tom McEwen on Toledo De Kerser and Laura Collett on London 52. They came into show jumping with several rails in hand — some of which were needed!
The competition for silver and bronze between Australia and France was tight, separated by just 1.3 penalty points. Hoy’s clear round on Vassily de Lassos clinched the medal for the Australians.
Germany finished fourth with 114.2, just ahead of New Zealand with 116.4.
Next on to “pure” Show Jumping, although I admit that all this Olympic competition is really cutting into my work schedule!