The British Olympic Association has today announced the 12 athletes that will compete for Team GB across the three equestrian disciplines of Eventing, Dressage and Jumping at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Three-time Olympic medallist William Fox-Pitt with Chilli Morning will feature in the Eventing team along with Kitty King riding Ceylor L A N and Izzy Taylor on Allercombe Ellie. Gemma Tattersall rounds off the team on Chico Bella P or Quicklook V, with all three athletes receiving their first Olympic call-up.
In the Dressage team, reigning World, European and Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin will compete on Valegro joined by fellow 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Carl Hester with Nip Tuck.
The Dressage team will be completed by 2015 European team silver medallist Fiona Bigwood on Atterupgaards Orthilia and Spencer Wilton on Super Nova II – both of whom make their Olympic Games debuts.
There is also plenty of Olympic Games pedigree in the Jumping team, with London 2012 gold medallists Nick Skelton and Ben Maher returning on Big Star and Tic Tac respectively – Rio 2016 being Skelton’s seventh Games, and his second on Big Star.
Los Angeles 1984 jumping team silver medallist John Whitaker, who’s set to feature in his sixth Olympic Games, will compete on Ornellaia while younger brother Michael, who heads to his fifth Olympics – who also won silver at LA 1984 – will compete aboard Cassionato.
Today’s announcement brings the number of selected athletes to 246 from 20 sports.
The selected athletes are:
William Fox-Pitt, age 47, based Dorset, with Christopher Stone’s Chilli Morning
Kitty King, age 33, based Wiltshire, with Diana Bown, Jacqueline Owen and Samantha Wilson’s Ceylor L A N
Gemma Tattersall, age 31, based West Sussex, with either Christopher Stone’s Chico Bella P or The Pebbles Syndicate’s Quicklook V
Isabelle (Izzy) Taylor, age 33, based Oxfordshire, with Susan Holroyd and Frances Carter’s Allercombe Ellie
Travelling Reserve: Pippa Funnell MBE, age 47, based Surrey, with the late Carol Toliver’s Billy The Biz
Fiona Bigwood, age 40, based West Sussex, with Penny Bigwood and Neils and Lis Dahl’s Atterupgaards Orthilia
Charlotte Dujardin OBE, age 30, based Gloucestershire, with Rowena Luard, Anne Barrott and Carl Hester’s Valegro
Carl Hester MBE, age 49, based Gloucestershire, with Jane De La Mare and his own Nip Tuck
Spencer Wilton, age 43, based Reading, with Jennifer Goodman and his own Super Nova II
Travelling Reserve: Lara Griffith, age 27, based Gloucestershire, with Dr Wilfried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin Al Asad
Ben Maher MBE, age 33, based Hertfordshire, with Jane Forbes Clark and his own Tic Tac
Nick Skelton OBE, age 58, based Warwickshire, with Beverley Widdowson’s Big Star
John Whitaker MBE, age 60, based West Yorkshire, with Team Harmony Management Co Ltd’s Ornellaia
Michael Whitaker, age 56, based Nottinghamshire, with Beverley Widdowson’s Cassionato
Travelling reserve: Jessica Mendoza, age 20, hometown Wiltshire, with Sarah Mendoza’s Spirit T
Team GB’s Chef de Mission, Mark England, said:
“No sport can boast Olympic experiences quite like our equestrian team and it’s of great credit to both the riders and the programme that we welcome athletes back for their fifth, sixth or even seventh Games as part of Team GB. This is vital in a multi-sport environment and our recent Olympic record is testament to this.
“There is strength across all three disciplines and I’m sure the country can look forward to seeing the team perform at the top of their game once again this August.”
Equestrian Team Leader, Dan Hughes, commented; “The team we have selected represents the strength in depth of talent we are lucky enough to enjoy in equestrian sport in the UK, and the mix of both experience and new talent across the three equestrian events in Rio. None of this would be possible without the support of National Lottery funding via UK Sport. Five of our twelve riders will be competing at an Olympic Games for the first time, whilst some will be competing at their 5th, 6th and even 7th Olympic Games. There is a robust team spirit amongst our athletes, staff, grooms and our all-important owners that underpins the strongest desire to win medals in Rio. As a team we go there with that single focus”.
Carl Hester, member of the 2012 gold medal winning dressage team said; “It’s still a very exciting time for British dressage as a sport; to take the success of London forward to Rio is going to be a huge undertaking but I’m really looking forward to the challenge with what is a fantastic team. I am very lucky with my involvement, in part-owning two horses on the team, it really feels like a family affair; Jane and Roly have both been part of the British team for the past few years and it’s great to have their continued support. I’m really excited to be coaching the talents of Charlotte, Spencer and Fiona; hopefully it will be a Games to remember.”
Heading to his seventh Games, showjumper Nick Skelton said; “I’m very happy. Hopefully we can do as good a job as we did in London. I’m delighted to have been selected; the horse is jumping well and is in good form, and let’s just hope we can do a good job.”
Set to make her Olympic debut, eventer Kitty King commented; “It’s probably the best phone call I’ve ever had; it’s something that I dreamt of as a child. It’s really special for the whole support team at home too; the amount of work that they put in is incredible, it’s definitely not just about me and the horse, it’s about everyone else behind us too. None of it would be possible without my sponsors and UK Sport support; it’s made a massive difference.”
If required, reserves will be taken from the nominated entries list.
*Denotes British Bred horse