Olympic Athletes >> Anky van Grunsven
Anky van Grunsven
- Date of birth
Olympic Games (8 medals - 3 gold, 5 silver)
- Individual dressage: 1st (2000, 2004, 2008), 2nd (1996)
- Team event: 2nd (1992, 1996, 2000, 2008)
World Equestrian Games (7 medals - 2 gold, 5 silver)
- Individual freestyle dressage: 1st (1994), 2nd (1998)
- Kur Grand Prix: 1st (2006)
- Special Grand Prix: 2nd (2006)
- Team dressage: 2nd (1994, 1998, 2006)
European Championships (15 medals - 5 gold, 8 silver, 2 bronze)
- Individual dressage: 1st (1999, 2005), 2nd (1995, 1997)
- Kur Grand Prix: 1st (2007), 3e (2009)
- Special Grand Prix: 2nd (2007)
- Team dressage: 1st (2007, 2009), 2nd (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005), 3rd (1991)
World Cup (11 medals - 9 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
Dressage: 1st (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008), 2nd (1998), 3rd (2009)
Dances with horses
Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven is the undisputed Queen of the dressage scene having won gold at the last three Olympics.
Only the Americans Carl Lewis in the long jump (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996) and Al Oerter in discus (1956, 1960, 1964, 1968) have won four straight gold medals, so Van Grunvsen could be one of the stories of the Games.
She and her mount Salinero set a world record score of 87.925 at a German Grand Prix in 2007, thanks to fabulous artistic impression as understanding between horse and rider hit a peak in the run-up to her third straight Olympic crown.
That title at the Beijing Games was actually won in Hong Kong's Shatin facility, where van Grunsven and Salinero edged Germany's Isabell Werth and her mount Satchmo for gold in a tightly contested event.
In 2010 van Grunvsen became involved in a row over a training technique formerly used by her husband and Dutch national dressage trainer Sjef Janssen. Authorities have now banned this rollkur method as too aggressive.
London will be van Grunsven's seventh appearance at the Games when she will be 44, and given the fact Britain's Lorna Johnstone competed at the Munich Games of 1972 aged 70, the likeable blonde may have another five in her.
All her previous horses, Prisco from the 1988 Seoul Games, Bonfire, on whom she won silver (team dressage) at Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 before finally claiming gold together at Sydney, and Joker, who had shown promise before injury and is her favourite horse, are all still present and doted upon in her personal stables at the family farm.
Her father and brothers are all committed horse people and there are some 30 horses on the farm including the Hanoverian gelding Salerino (who will be 14 at Beijing), and who is 2004 Olympic, 2006 world and 2007 European champion.
A second great horse
Van Grunsven is not in the business of breeding but prefers to buy horses of proven appetite at around the age of six.
She was born in Erp, January 2, 1968 and had her first pony at the age of six and though not taking riding very seriously until maturity, won the first of her 13 national dressage titles in 1990.
She is married to a horse trainer with whom she has two children and as well as running a very busy stable and gallivanting around the world to equestrian events, she also runs a riding clothes company.
Van Grunsven says that after Bonfire she never expected to have a second great horse, but Salinero would seem to be even better than his illustrious predecessor.
Salinero is now competing with stablemate Upido to be van Grunsven's mount at London, and the veteran came back from a two-year injury lay-off in fine form meaning that if the horse keeps its fitness, he will be 18-years-old at London.
Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.