After Germany’s Michael Jung won the second of his two consecutive Individual Olympic Equestrian Eventing titles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he was asked what he had next in his sights. “Tokyo 2020, of course, and the Europeans and maybe the world title along the way!" he replied.
He wasn’t joking, of course, because the 38-year-old who made eventing history by becoming the first to hold the European, Olympic, and World Championship titles at the same time is one of the most formidable athletes in all of equestrian sport.
He didn’t make it to the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018 when his horse had an injury, but at the FEI European Championships the following year, he took team gold and was just pipped at the post for the individual title by teammate Ingrid Klimke.
This is a man who sets the bar really high for everyone else, and if he can do the individual hat-trick in Tokyo, then he will set a new Olympic record. Charles Pahud de Mortanges from The Netherlands came out on top in Amsterdam in 1928 and again at the following Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932, and New Zealand’s Mark Todd won in Los Angeles in 1984 and again in Seoul in 1988. Both riders partnered the same horse on each occasion, the Dutchman riding Marcroix and the Kiwi riding the legendary Charisma.
Jung was also riding the same horse, the mighty Sam, when coming out on top at London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This time around, he will partner his 2019 European Championship horse Chipmunk, and the world waits to see what more magic he can bring.
He’ll be joined on the German team by two of the three athletes who helped clinch team silver in Rio, Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz) and Julia Krajewski (Armande de B’Neville). However, it is the French who line out as defending team champions, with Karim Florent Laghouag (Triton Fontaine), Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold HDC), and Christopher Six (Totem de Brecey) flying the flag for Les Bleus.
The British arrive as reigning world champions with the world number one, Oliver Townend (Ballaghmore Class), number five Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) and number 22, Laura Collet (London 52) on their side, backed up last-minute replacement reserve Ros Canter with Allstar B, the horse she rode to individual gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018. . There’s great strength in depth in this selection, while the Irish world silver medallists, and the Kiwi side that includes husband-and-wife Tim and Jonelle Price, also look highly competitive.
But there are further Olympic records hanging in the balance. Australia’s Andrew Hoy, Shane Rose, and Stuart Tinney have 166 years of life experience and eight Olympic medals between them. And 62-year-old Hoy could make Olympic history by becoming the first athlete to win gold medals an incredible 29 years apart. He won his first team gold in Barcelona in 1992, and if he could do it again, he’d break the all-time record set by Hungarian fencer Aladár Gerevich, who triumphed in 1932 and 1960.
Hoy went on to win two more team golds, at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, and just by turning up in Tokyo, he will set an Australian record with his eighth Olympic appearance since his debut in Los Angeles in 1984 at the age of 25.
Interested in tapping into the audience of three-day eventing? Consider partnering with the United States Eventing Association (USEA) in 2022! The USEA is a non-profit 501 C (3), which serves as the national association for the Olympic equestrian sport of three-day eventing.
Whether you are a rider preparing for a move-up or a trainer looking to ensure your training program is well-rounded, the soon-to-be released USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is the go-to guide to assist you in navigating key decisions. Lucky enough, attendees of the 2022 USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) Symposium at Barnstaple South Farm in Ocala, Florida on February 8-9 will be the first people outside of the those involved in its creation to access this passion project that the ICP Committee has put two years of research and hard work into developing.
In 2021 Cynthia Smith recorded 536 hours and 59 minutes of volunteer time, setting the standard with the most amount of volunteer hours recorded in a single year since the creation of the USEA Volunteer Incentive Program in 2016. The record-breaking number of volunteer time earned Smith the 2021 USEA Volunteer of the Year title.
Tamie Smith’s year has been nothing short of action-packed as she packed up all 25 of her competition horses and made her way to the East Coast for the first part of the year before hopping on a jet to Tokyo where she served as the U.S. team reserve for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She then stayed overseas and competed abroad for a little while before returning home to the West Coast. While this year has been full of opportunities to show, her aspirations are bigger than just competition. The 2021 Bates USEA Lady Rider of the Year has been full steam ahead chasing goals in both her riding career as well as in her impact on the sport’s future.