Charlotte Dujardin retains Olympic dressage title to hand Team GB gold medal number 16
Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin won her second individual dressage gold in her final Olympic performance on horse Valegro on Monday, though she came short of breaking her own world record.
Dujardin led with the top freestyle score of 93.857 out of 100, below her 2014 record of 94.30.
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Essex-born Dujardin, 31, won individual and team gold four years ago in London and has broken numerous dressage records. A former groom who worked her way up in an elite sport, she counts Queen Elizabeth II among her fans.
The top 18 individual riders started with a clean slate to ride for individual medals in the freestyle competition, a routine of choreographed moves to music that is essentially the equine version of a gymnastics floor routine.
Monday’s competition featured a Swedish horse and rider pair performing extended trots to the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. Dujardin’s music was Brazil-inspired.
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Severo Jurado Lopez from Spain cantered to Santana’s Smooth before coming down centre line to Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life to thunderous applause. His score of 83.625 was widely booed by an audience that thought it was too low.
American Laura Graves, a former hair stylist riding a horse she trained herself, came in fourth, meaning the top dressage scores were claimed by women in an Olympic event in which they compete against men.
Dujardin’s gold was Team GB’s 40th medal of the Rio Games and their 16th gold, pushing them ahead of China once more on the medals table.