Tokyo 2020 Eventing Team & Individual Results
British Take Team Title, Krajewski Takes Individual Gold for Germany
By Louise Parkes, FEI
Britain’s Oliver Townend, Laura Collett, and Tom McEwen were in a league of their own when cruising to Eventing team gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Baji Koen Equestrian Park on August 2, 2021. This was their country’s fourth team title, but it’s been a very long wait since Richard Meade, Mary Gordon-Watson, Bridget Parker, and Mark Phillips stood top of the podium a full 49 years ago in Munich in 1972. Australia took the Silver medal, while the defending champions from France claimed the Bronze.
And Germany’s Julia Krajewski has entered the equestrian history books as the very first female athlete to take the Individual Olympic Eventing title. When the Games last took place in Tokyo back in 1964, the USA’s Lana du Pont was the first woman to compete in the three-day event, so female firsts and the Tokyo Olympics seem to be intrinsically linked.
In the battle for the remaining Individual podium places, it was Britain’s Tom McEwen who took the Silver while Australia’s Andrew Hoy clinched the Bronze. Hoy’s result is nothing short of sensational because the three-time team gold medalist has a staggering record of participation at eight Olympic Games dating all the way back to Los Angeles in 1984. He was only 25 years old back then, and today at the age of 62 he’s as competitive as ever.
Tom McEwen paved the path to Britain’s team victory with a superb round from Toledo de Kresker over the first of Santiago Varela’s beautifully decorated tracks. And he was filled with confidence that his team-mates would do the rest of the work without difficulty.
A four-fence advantage and more after the previous day’s cross-country test had left his team sitting comfortably ahead, and as it turned out his confidence was not misplaced.
“He was incredible,” he said of his 14-year-old horse, “I just put him on the spot and he was up and away. Everyone that follows Eventing knows he’s a great jumper so it’s just up to me on top,” he added.
However, team-mate Laura Collett had a scary moment when London 52 balked at the water tray at fence four and scattered poles everywhere before regaining his equilibrium. “He started like his normal self but just as I came around the corner the light shone on the water and he suddenly started to draw back, and I was quite far off it and he just went up and paddled. I was lucky he’s such a great jumper and it didn’t faze him and he got it back together and finished really nicely.”
It’s difficult to put too much pressure on Oliver Townend who was heading the Individual rankings going into today’s closing stages after a sensational run in both Dressage and Cross-Country with Ballaghmor Class. The first element of the double at fence nine, four fences from home, hit the floor but that still left Team Great Britain finishing on a score of 86.30 and under no threat from their closest rivals.
GBR-Oliver Townend rides Ballaghmor Class during the Eventing Cross Country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: FEI/Libby Law Photography
The real battle was played out between Australia and France, Kevin McNab opening the Aussie account with a foot-perfect run with Don Quidam before Shane Rose’s Virgil also fell victim to the first element of fence nine. Meanwhile, Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold who were part of the gold medal-winning French side at the Rio 2016 Games returned with just 0.4 for time, while second-line rider Karim Florent Laghouag faulted only at the first element of the triple combination at fence five.
The two sides had the started the day with a hair’s breadth between them, and even though Frenchman Christopher Six was clear and clean with Totem de Brecey, Andrew Hoy made no mistake with Vassily de Lassos to bag the Silver when last to go, the two sides separated by just 1.3 penalties.
The Individual finale was truly gripping as the top 25 slogged it out. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto collected just 0.4 penalties when seventh-last to go with the lovely Vinci de la Vigne, and when France’s Christopher Six faulted at the last of the triple combination on the new course Tomoto began to move up the order.
Collett’s bay gelding left the last two fences on the floor but when Hoy followed with a clear the top three had absolutely no breathing space. McEwen didn’t need any when executing yet another regal tour of the track but Townend’s luck ran out, his 4.8 penalties pushing him off the podium.
Andrew Hoy (AUS) riding Vassily De Lassos in the Eventing Cross Country. Photo: FEI/Christophe Taniere
Last in, Krajewski could have been completely overwhelmed but held her nerve to deliver a fabulous round from the mare she calls Mandy. She would take the Gold medal and the top step of the podium, ahead of McEwen and Hoy in Silver and Bronze.
The 32-year-old Krajewski, who is based in Warendorf, Germany has had a really tough year, beginning with the passing of her father and then having to retire her top horse Samurai du Thot after he had his eye removed due to a lingering infection. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games seemed an impossible target after that, but when Mandy won the CCI4* in Saumur, France and the pair took bronze at the German Championships in the spring, then suddenly the horizon was completely altered. And now she finds herself an Olympic champion.
Silver medallist McEwen is 30 years of age and looks set on a long road of further success, while 62-year-old Hoy was keen to declare that he’s not hanging up his boots anytime soon.
“When I started in the sport I was really proud of being the youngest person in the team and now its just an absolute joy that I’m still here and so healthy. When people meet me in the Olympic Village they say: ‘You are an official, aren’t you?’ And they look a bit surprised when I say no, I’m an athlete!”
He has enjoyed these Games as much as any and was full of praise for the organisation. “Without doubt the Japanese people, the country of Japan, and the City of Tokyo deserve the biggest gold medal for putting these Games on. The effort they’ve gone to is incredible, and it’s a privilege to be here,” he concluded.
Team Great Britain Oliver Townend, Laura Collett, and Tom McEwen celebrate their Gold medals.Photo Copyright © FEI/EFE/Kai Försterling
For more information on equestrian events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games please click here.