Gold for former local Charlotte Dujardin
FORMER Finmere girl Charlotte Dujardin is a double Olympic champion after winning two dressage gold medals at London 2012.
After helping Great Britain win a historic gold in the team dressage at Greenwich Park on Tuesday, Charlotte then made history again by winning the individual event while riding Valegro.
Britain had never won an Olympic dressage medal before but Charlotte – who was the last British rider to go in the team event – kept her cool to record a hugely impressive score of 83.286, which was enough to claim the team gold medal over favourites Germany.
She was competing in a team of three alongside Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer.
It was then the turn of the individual event yesterday and – as favourite – Charlotte didn’t disappoint as she made history once again with Britain’s first ever individual dressage gold medal.
She scored a remarkable 90.089% to take the gold from Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen, with team-mate Laura Bechtolsheimer taking bronze.
Her sister, Emma-Jayne Dujardin, still lives in Finmere along with her parents.
She said: “I’m proud of her. She’s always kept her cool and takes the pressure, she can perform under the utmost of pressure.
“She said she came out and was a little bit nervous but she always delivers.
“We were there watching her and I thought I was going to have a heart-attack, it was so nerve-racking!
“She said she was so nervous watching Carl Hester go and her legs were like jelly. I said to her that this is what you put us through every time!”
“She’s always said she’s wanted to win an Olympic gold medal.”
Following the team event, Charlotte was favourite for individual gold after a series of stunning performances and she showed why with another immaculate display.
Afterwards, her mum said: “I’m so proud of her.
“When my mother died I knew I had to use the money I inherited to buy Charlotte a horse.
“She could make a donkey do anything. I knew she had all the talent, but didn’t have the break until I could buy her the horse.”
Now living in Gloucestershire, Charlotte spent three years living in Finmere where she began her dressage career alongside TV commentator Judy Harvey in Great Horwood.
Having always had a passion for horses, Charlotte has flourished on the big stage after winning several Horse of the Year Show competitions.
She then turned her hand to dressage and proved to be a natural, highlighted in April when she set a new world record of 88.022% despite only starting at grand prix level in January 2011.
The 27-year-old was also part of the team that won gold in the 2011 European Championships before she was selected for the London Olympics.
Britain’s dressage team have been a promising force in this equestrian discipline, which tests understanding between horse and rider as they complete 33 movements inside an arena.
They showed potential from the first day of competition on Friday when Charlotte recorded an Olympic record score of 83.66% to move Britain into the gold medal position with an average team score of 79.40%, which was 0.56% ahead of Germany.
Then, on Tuesday – following good displays from team-mates Hester and Bechtolsheimer – Charlotte required a score of near the 80 mark to win.
She had little trouble as Britain’s new equestrian star kept her nerve and brought home a memorable gold medal.
Charlotte said afterwards: “I was so nervous going in.
“I wanted that gold medal so badly, and I didn’t want to let anybody down.”
“It’s surreal. I only started at grand prix level in January last year, then I got a gold medal at the Europeans, and it was the ultimate dream to come to London and ride here.
“Valegro is a once-in-a-lifetime horse.”
Charlotte’s gold was also notable as it marked Team GB’s 50th medal of the London 2012 Olympics.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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