Olympic Dressage Results Highest Ever at Top, Expanded Grand Prix Reduces Average at Grand Prix

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Charlotte Dujardin after winning the Olympic individual gold with Valegro minded by Alan Davies poking his nodse into the awards ceremony. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin after winning the Olympic individual gold with Valegro minded by Alan Davies poking his nodse into the awards ceremony. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 17, 2016–The top competitors in dressage at this year’s Olympics earned higher scores than ever before but, according to an analysis of results, the start list expanded to the largest ever to display “more flags” led to a decline in the overall average of the Grand Prix compared with the 2012 Games in London.

The average result for the 18 combinations competing in the Grand Prix Freestyle was 81.3677 per cent in Rio compared with 81.1178 per cent in London. For the Grand Prix Special, the average in Rio was 75.262 per cent while in London it was 73.884 per cent, according to the analysis by dressage-news.com.

However, for the Grand Prix where 60 combinations started in Rio this year though one was retired and thus did not score, the average of the 59 combinations was 71.895 per cent. In London where 50 combinations started but one did not finish, the average result for the remaining 49 pairs was 72.005 per cent.

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, defending champions, posted new Olympic records in the Grand Prix and the Freestyle while Germany’s Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD did the same in the Grand Prix Special.

To put the dressage competition in perspective, all horse and rider combinations started in the Grand Prix that was the first phase of the team competition. But six of the 11 teams and some individuals advanced to the Grand Prix Special.

The team result after the Grand Prix with six teams advancing to the Grand Prix Special to decide medals in Rio was 81.295 for Germany, 79.252 for Great Britain 76.971 for the United States, 76.043, the Netherlands, 75.319 for Sweden and 74.276 for Denmark.

In London four years earlier, Great Britain was leading with 79.407, Germany second with 78.845, Netherlands third with 76.809, Denmark fourth on 73.845, USA fifth on 72.801 and Spain sixth on 72.467.

The Grand Prix Special in Rio as the second and deciding contest for team medals put Germany at 82.577, Great Britain at 77.937, USA third at 76.363, Netherland fourth at 74.991, Sweden fifth at 74.370 and Denmark sixth on 74.346.

The London final team results were closer at the top–Great Britain 79.979, Germany 78.215, Netherlands 77.124, Denmark 73.846, Sweden 72.706 and USA sixth on 72.435.

To show the difference between the two Games, in the Grand Prix in London three combinations scored above 80 per cent, nine pairs above 75, 18 above 70 and 18 above 65 with one above 60

In Rio, there were four with at least 80 per cent, 14 above 75, 18 above 70 and 19 above 65 but four above 60 that dropped the overall average to 71.895 in 2016.

However, when the starting list was reduced after the Grand Prix to the same numbers as in 2012 the results showed an increase in Rio in 2016 compared with London in 2012.

Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro was the dominant combination in both Olympics, winning the three levels in 2012 and two of the three in 2012–the Grand Prix and the Freestyle with significantly higher marks this year. Germany’s Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD won the Special.

Nine combinations were awarded scores above 80 per cent in the Grand Prix Freestyle in both Rio and London, but in addition to Charlotte Dujardin and Valagro receiving scores above 90 per cent in claiming the individual titles in both Olympics, three combinations produced results above 85 per cent in Rio compared with one in London in 2012. Another eight pairs were awarded scores above 75 per cent, the same as in 2012.