Monica Theodorescu, German Team Coach, 3-Time Olympian, Appointed to FEI Dressage Committee–Now No Members Outside Europe

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Monica Theodorescu, German team coach and new member of International Equestrian Federation Dressage Committee. File photo. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Nov. 19, 2020

Monica Theodorescu, a three-time Olympic gold medal rider and coach of the German team for the past eight years, on Thursday was appointed a member of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee, the six-person group that oversees the sport. Monica succeeds George Williams of the United States so the committee will now be made up only of Europeans for the first time in many years.

Monica, 57 years old, became the first woman to become the German team coach when she was appointed eight years ago after a highly successful competition career.

Monica, the daughter of the late legendary trainer, George Theodorescu, was World Cup champion in 1993 and 1994, was on Olympic gold medal teams in 1988, 1992 and 1996 and in 1990 was on the world championship squad and third best individual.

She joins Frank Kemperman of the Netherlands, who is chairman, Andrew Gardner of Great Britain, Beatriz Ferrer-Salat of Spain, Irina Maknami (RUS) and Patrik Kittel of Sweden.

She replaces George Williams of the United States whose four-year-term expired.

The United States nominated an Olympic team rider and active in representing riders to replace George. Chile was also believed to have nominated a candidate.

The FEI dressage committee underwent a complete overhaul after the 2008 Olympics aimed at ending a strangehold on the group by judges.

Robert Dover, an American Olympian at six Games and former team coach for Canada and then the United States, was on a task force that proposed broadening representation and other major changes in dressage.

In recent years committee members have included Anne Gribbons, former U.S. team coach; Maribel Alonso de Quinzaños, a top rated judge from Mexico, and George Williams, member of the U.S. Equestrian Federation board of directors and president of the U.S. Dressage Federation as well as a long-time international competitor.

At the same time, the number of top rated 5* judges outside Europe has declined.

The U.S., for example, for many years had four judges in the senior ranks but is now down to three–Janet Lee Foy as well as Anne Gribbons and Gary Rockwell. Both Anne and Gary are 76 years old and their licenses were extended beyond what had been a mandatory retirement age of 70 but is now a “competency based evaluation system.”