Team GB Exclusive: Dujardin determined to keep pushing for podiums

Team GB Exclusive: Dujardin determined to keep pushing for podiums

10 August 2016 / 09:00
With two Olympic gold medals, two World gold medals and five European gold medals to your name, you could be forgiven for lacking motivation.
Dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin is a different breed to most of us mere mortals and the 31-year-old arrives in Rio in search of more medals to add to her swelling trophy cabinet.

Still riding Valegro, the 14-year-old stallion that took her to double gold at London 2012, Dujardin is regarded as the best in the world.

But despite the highs of four years ago, and the world and European titles that have followed in the time since, Dujardin said a failure to win gold would not be the end of the world.

“I want to enjoy it all, not regret any minute of it. Give it everything I can and have fun,” said the reigning dressage World Cup champion.

“It gives me a lot more confidence, because I know what to expect from an Olympic Games. But on the other hand I do have the expectations and the pressure, it’s swings and roundabouts.

“I’ll go there and I would love to win gold, but any athlete would say that any medal is a huge achievement, so if I could come away with a medal I would be super happy - I just really want to enjoy the experience.

“A medal would still be success, just enjoying it and having fun, and feeling I’ve done the best I can do.

“If I do that, then that’s all I can do. It’s about trying to perform at your best, not letting the pressure or other people get to you, or affect your performance.”

A relative young gun at the age of just 31, Dujardin is the youngest of the first choice riders selected in the whole of the Team GB equestrian squad.

She has crammed a lot of success into those 31 years though and with John Whitaker still competing in the show jumping event at age 60, Dujardin sees no reason why she cannot continue to compete for decades to come.

“I hope I can continue on for more Games to come,” she said.

“Being with the Whitaker’s and Nick Skelton, guys that have been doing it for that long, it really inspires you and shows you that you can keep going when you’re older.

“It’s incredible to think that they are still doing it at their age, it is amazing, and at their very best.

“For me it is all about, after Rio, producing lots more horses up to that Olympic level, and going on to represent the country again, hopefully at Tokyo in 2020.

“I just have to stay as fit and healthy as I can after that. I ride between nine and 12 horses a day. Then I do gym work as well, I try to keep myself as fit as possible.

“Mentally I have some sports psychology to help me with that side of things as well.

“I love what I do, it is a real passion for me. Riding and bringing on new horses, I love that and I don’t want to stop any time soon.”

By Phil Jones, Sportsbeat

Sportsbeat 2016

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