Golden Games for equestrian team

12 August 2012 / 13:53

David Broome has described British equestrian's record-breaking medal haul at London 2012 as "beyond a dream".

Britain's showjumpers are Olympic team champions for the first time in 60 years, while dressage stars Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer rewrote Games history.

Not only did they win team gold, but 27-year-old Dujardin memorably took the individual title and Bechtolsheimer collected a bronze.

Since dressage became an Olympic sport 100 years ago, Britain had never seriously threatened a podium finish, which underlines the magnitude of what was achieved at Greenwich Park.

The consistently-successful British eventing quintet - William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Tina Cook, Zara Phillips and Nicola Wilson - launched the medal haul with a team silver on day four behind favourites Germany.

And by the time a two-week equestrian spectacular drew to its close, Britain's medal haul numbered five - two more than the declared target.

Broome, who won individual showjumping bronze medals in the Rome and Mexico Olympics, was among a 23,000 capacity crowd in Greenwich's main arena when Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles beat Holland in a thrilling "extra time" jump-off.

"The whole two weeks was just absolutely fantastic," Broome said.

"In the showjumping, for years all we had been saying was that we just needed a medal and things would start to take off.

"Our guys are serious riders who can all do the business, and an Olympic Games is always the yardstick.

"If you ran the Olympic team showjumping competition on 10 separate days, you might get seven or eight different winners, but our boys were brilliant on the day in question, which is what counts."

While the showjumping final was undoubtedly Greenwich's most dramatic event, the dressage riders conquered acute pressure as they memorably lived up to expectations.

They arrived in London as reigning European champions and gold medal favourites, while Dujardin was already a world record holder, yet surely established dressage superpowers Germany and Holland could stop them?

Not a chance.

Dujardin, who only rode her first competitive grand prix test in January last year, became the fourth British female athlete after Dame Kelly Holmes, Rebecca Adlington and Laura Trott to win double gold at one Games.

And just for good measure, she broke three Olympic records in the grand prix, grand special and individual freestyle to music aboard her brilliant 10-year-old Valegro.

"You have to take your hat off to the dressage riders," Broome added.

"It was phenomenal what they achieved, walking all over the Germans and the Dutch.

"I don't know Carl Hester that well, but he is an Olympic gold medallist who has trained another gold medallist (Dujardin) on the same team. What an achievement, and what a gentleman.

"London 2012 has been beyond a dream. In terms of medals, we pretty much cleaned up, and we have now got to turn that success into our future as a sport."