RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Michael Jung successfully defended his Olympic individual eventing title on Tuesday (Aug 9) to deliver Germany their first gold medal on the fourth day of the Rio Games.
Jung, riding Sam – with whom he also won at London 2012 – produced a flawless round in the concluding jumping phase at the Deodoro equestrian centre.
France’s Astier Nicolas, who won team gold earlier in the day, took silver, with American Phillip Dutton – who won team gold representing Australia in 1996-2000 – in bronze.
The imperious Jung was collecting his third Olympic title after also claiming team eventing gold on Sam four years ago.
The medal was hung around his neck by Britain’s Princess Anne, resplendent in a Rio Games headscarf who knows a thing or two about the Olympics having competed for the UK equestrian team in Montreal 1976.
The only two riders to have won successive Olympic individual eventing titles are Charles Pahud de Mortanges of the Netherlands in 1928-32 and Mark Todd in 1984-88.
The celebrated 60-year-old Kiwi had to settle for seventh place this time around.
Jung turned up in Brazil as firm favourite to confirm the form he had shown at Greenwich Park in 2012, and he didn’t disappoint.
He was sitting fourth after Saturday’s first session of dressage, slipped to fifth in the second visit to the dressage arena 24 hours later, before emerging from Monday’s tough cross-country test fault-free to move second behind Australian Christopher Burton.
With Burton picking up eight faults to finish fifth Jung sealed the title with a glorious clear round.
Initially he had intended riding another horse, Takinou on whom he’d won double European gold in 2015.
But the nine-year-old suffered an injury forcing him to call up super sub Sam three weeks before leaving for Brazil.
The 34-year-old’s Rio triumph comes after an already sensational year.
In May, he won the richest prize in three-day eventing at the Badminton horse trials in south-west England.
That saw the Olympic and European individual champion complete a Grand Slam.
Jung captured the Slam after winning consecutive titles at Burghley in England, the United States’ Kentucky event and Badminton to claim a jackpot worth £240,000 ($347,000, 305,000 euros).
The only rider to have completed this treble was Britain’s Pippa Funnell 13 years ago.