Michael Jung and his horse Sam earn their second consecutive Olympic gold in individual eventing, making Olympic history. Jung’s Rio performance makes him the third rider in the history of the sport to win back to back individual eventing gold in just his second appearance.
The duo never fails to make an impeccable Olympic appearance. In 2012 Jung arrived in London holding the European and World Champion titles. On his 30th birthday he made eventing history as the first ever rider to hold the Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously.
Ironically, Sam was not Jung’s first choice for either of the two Games. In both scenarios Jung’s intended horse picked up an infection a week before animals were due in Rio. Sam, the 16-year-old horse proves to be Olympic worthy with nothing short of gold performances.
Jung and Sam earned fifth in the dressage phase, the phase that the duo struggles with the most. Although the duo did not claim a top three spot heading into the cross-country test, there was no sign of concern. Jung and Sam claimed gold in London from a No. 11 spot after their dressage performance. Claiming first in Rio from a No. 5 spot wouldn’t be anything the duo wasn’t capable of.
Jung refused to end his dominant reign and strived to continue his quest to make history. The rider became just one of three to complete Pierre Michelet’s highly difficult cross-country course flawlessly, positioning him for silver going into Tuesday’s rounds.
Jung is the only rider out of the 65 competitors to complete all three phases with while only accumulating penalties in the dressage phase. He continues his golden reign with a combined penalty score of 40.90. Jung also adds a silver team medal to his collection in Rio.
France’s Astier Nicolas brings home a team Gold and individual Silver during his Olympic debut. The French eventer continuously delivered star performances in all three phases, but the pressure became too much in the final jumping round. Nicolas accumulated 6.00 penalties in the final round, allowing Jung to claim Gold.
Team USA’s oldest competing Olympian, Phillip Dutton earned his first individual title and first title with an American background. The 53-year-old made an incredible comeback form the No. 15 spot on day two of eventing to the No.3 spot, claiming bronze. Dutton’s crucial near perfect cross-country performance advanced him to a top five spot entering Tuesday’s jumping finals. Dutton and Mighty Nice finished both jumping rounds with minimal time penalties, becoming the first American duo to earn an individual title since Beijing.