July 23, 2021
(Reuters) – Five riders to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics:
ISABELL WERTH (GERMANY)
Werth, who turned 52 just before the Tokyo Games, became equestrian’s most decorated athlete at the 2016 Olympic Games when she won her fifth team dressage gold.
She won individual dressage gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games and owns four Olympic silver medals. Tokyo will be her sixth Games. In her free time, Werth enjoys watching Formula One and supports the German football team Schalke.
CHARLOTTE DUJARDIN (BRITAIN)
Dujardin will compete with her horse Gio after her legendary horse Valegro retired following the 2016 Olympic Games. At Rio 2016, the British rider and Valegro topped an all-female podium in dressage to take gold, a repeat of their victory at London 2012.
She wears a helmet rather than a top hat when she competes in dressage after fracturing her skull in an accident in 2009. She has also publicly spoken about her struggles with depression.
MICHAEL JUNG (GERMANY)
Jung will give his new horse Chipmunk an Olympic outing, looking to add to his individual eventing golds from the previous two Games. In 2010 and 2014, he won gold medals at the World Equestrian Games.
He is the first eventing rider to hold top titles from the Olympic, World and European competitions at the same time.
MATHILDA KARLSSON (SRI LANKA)
Karlsson, born in Sri Lanka and adopted by a Swedish couple, will become the first equestrian at any Olympic Games representing the South Asian island nation, competing as an individual jumper.
She almost missed out on Tokyo after the equestrian federation found an error in the way points towards her qualification were submitted and annulled her results. She appealed the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and was cleared to compete.
DANI WALDMAN (ISRAEL)
Waldman, 36, will ride as a member of Israel’s first ever equestrian Olympic team. She is known to break fashion boundaries in the sport with her trademark mane styled out of dozens of colourful feathers braided into her hair. She has also been known to trade the traditional riding trousers and blazer for yoga pants and a sports bra.
(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Christian Radnedge, Nick Mulvenney and Muralikumar Anantharaman)