Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Olympics

Rio Olympics: Charlotte Dujardin salutes Valegro's golden farewell to the Olympic arena

By Andrew Baldock

British star Charlotte Dujardin hailed "a truly magical" Olympic farewell for the brilliant Valegro after she retained her individual dressage title with a stunning Games record performance in Deodoro.

Dujardin could not hold back the tears as she saluted a remarkable horse that now looks set to be retired, his work on the sport's biggest stage seemingly done.

When he bows out, it will be after underpinning 31-year-old Dujardin's stellar career that has so far reaped 10 major championship gold medals - three Olympic, two World and five European.

She won with an Olympic record grand prix freestyle score of 93.857 per cent, as they obliterated the 18-strong field following a stunning performance to an accompaniment of upbeat Brazilian samba-style music.

The score was comfortably higher than when Gloucestershire-based Dujardin won gold on the same horse at London 2012.

And apart from matching cyclist Laura Trott on three Olympic gold medals, she also joins eventer Richard Meade as the most successful British equestrian rider in Games history.

"It was truly magical. It was the best feeling ever. You couldn't have asked for any more from him," Dujardin said. "Dreams come true. Going to London, I didn't have any expectations for the individual competition. I just went out there, did my thing and it happened.

"Coming here, I had to defend that title. I had expectation, I had the pressure and I did feel it a little bit. I also knew it could be one of the last times with Valegro. I know I am not going to do another Olympics with him.

"But as soon as I got into the arena, Valegro gave me this most amazing feeling and it put a smile on my face. I knew I was fine.

"I owe it to him to finish at the top. I am going to make sure it happens again (on another horse), but he is a once in a lifetime horse.

"It's another huge challenge to do it all again, but there will never be another Valegro."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph