Olympics Open In Rio With Eventing Horse Inspection Kicking Off Equestrian

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The USA dressage team (left to right) of Steffen Peters, Allison Brock, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass with coach Robert Dover in their Ralph Lauren team uniforms.
The USA dressage team (left to right) of Steffen Peters, Allison Brock, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass with coach Robert Dover in their Ralph Lauren team uniforms.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 5, 2016–The first Olympic Games in South America opened Friday night with 205 teams parading in the famous Maracana soccer stadium after the horse inspection for eventing that kicked off equestrian competition that includes dressage and jumping over the next two weeks.

Four of the teams were led by flag bearers competing in equestrian–all jumper riders–at Deodoro that has been praised almost universally for stabling for horses, footing in the main arena and training and warm-up rings–the elements given top priority by riders.

Eight nations have teams in all three Olympic disciplines–Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States as well as host Brazil–at this 31st edition of the Games that first included equestrian competition 104 years ago.

Eventing dressage with all 65 horse and rider combinations, including 13 teams, from a total of 24 countries starts Saturday.

Dressage competition of 60 horse/rider combinations with 11 teams and pairs from another 14 countries, more than ever before and 10 higher than in 2012, starts Monday with the horse inspection.

Two days of Grand Prix as the first phase of team medals is held Wednesday and Thursday with the Grand Prix Special to decide the gold, silver and bronze teams is scheduled for Friday.

The Grand Prix Freestyle to decide individual medals is set for Monday, Aug. 15.

For dressage, two of the three individual medal pairs from London in 2012 are in Rio–Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, team and individual gold, and Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival, team bronze and individual silver. Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados, on the German silver medal team in London, is on this year’s team and has become world No. 1.

Isabell Werth, also of Germany, will ride Weihegold that a medal would elevate the rider to equaling the nine Olympic medals that Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands has for the most in equestrian sports.

Jumping with 75 combinations from 27 countries and including 15 teams starts with the first round on Sunday, Aug. 14.