Paris 2024 | Show jumpers Greve, Smolders and Van der Vleuten are among the favorites for a medal

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Paris 2024 | Show jumpers Greve, Smolders and Van der Vleuten are among the favorites for a medal

Text: Rick Helmink/Horses.nl

National coach of the Dutch show jumpers is Jos Lansink, himself a seven-time Olympian (four times for the Netherlands and three times for Belgium), and will be going to the Olympic Games as national coach for the first time this year. He was also part of the Orange show jumping team that brought back the first gold Olympic team medal in that discipline to the Netherlands.

That happened in 1992 at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. There, Lansink, who was the only one to remain clear twice in the second round of the team competition, was also the big favorite for individual gold.

Favorite role not new for Lansink

With such a favorite role, Lansink is now also going to Paris with his three riders. How does that role feel? “It feels good, but in the Nations Cup you have to ride a clear round, if you have mistakes you are behind the facts. One time fault is already too much,” said Lansink at the Paris team presentation of the Dutch equestrian association.

“That’s why we have a strong team with strong riders and strong horses. But at that moment you have to do a clear round. You have to be in shape for the day and also a bit of luck, although you can force that a bit.”

When asked if Lansink is disappointed if there is no medal, he says: “Maybe yes. But we also see how close it all is. You first have to get to the top ten countries, but then it is very close.”

Paris 2024 | Show jumpers Greve, Smolders and Van der Vleuten are among the favorites for a medal

Tokyo 2020 | “Proud of how Beauville is performing here” Maikel van der Vleuten

Correct perspective

Team rider Harrie Smolders adds: “We are definitely going for a medal, but you also have to put it in perspective: we have not won a team competition this year. There are more good countries. We are definitely going for a medal, but it is certainly not that we are double and thick favorites.”

The last team medal on the world stage for the Dutch show jumpers dates from the World Equestrian Games in Caen (2014), where the Netherlands won gold. At the Olympic Games, the Dutch show jumping team won one gold medal in recent history (Barcelona 1992) and one silver medal (London 2012).

In many other years, TeamNL came close: in Tokyo (2021) there was a fourth place, in Rio de Janeiro (2016) a seventh place, in Beijing (2008) a fourth place, in Athens (2004) a fourth place and in Sydney (2000) a fifth place.

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TOKYO 2020 | Eight penalty points for show jumper Maikel van der Vleuten

Lucky boys

This year, another medal could be added to that list, especially since all three team riders have two top horses. Lansink calls the three men in his team lucky boys. “They all have their own reserve horse. And that reserve horse is not a second horse at all, but you can safely call it a first horse.”

Willem Greve has next to Grandorado TN NOP, Highway TN NOP, Harrie Smolders next to Uricas van de Kattevennen, Monaco NOP and Maikel van der Vleuten next to Beauville NOP also O’Bailey van het Brouwershof NOP

Up to two hours before the veterinary inspection of the horses for the competition, Lansink can still decide to choose one of the reserve horses.

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Tokyo 2020 | Edward Gal out of medals in individual event

Kim Emmen

The choice for the three gentlemen, who have proven their top form and the top form of their horses this season, was not very exciting. The choice for the traveling reserve was open and eventually Lansink chose Kim Emmen. In choosing Kim Emmen, the stability of the combination was decisive.

“As a fourth combination, you need a horse that doesn’t look left or right and a rider who doesn’t look left or right and can perform under pressure, that’s why it was Kim. Kim rode a very strong round in the first round of the Nations Cup in Rotterdam and then also very strong in the Grand Prix. She was really under pressure there and she knew that this was the moment where she had to show herself. And she did a great job,” says Jos Lansink.

Kim Emmen is the second woman ever to represent the Netherlands at the Olympic Games, after Angelique Hoorn in 2008. At that time, teams of three were also used, but Hoorn ultimately did not compete for the team.

But Tokyo 2020 showed that things can also go differently: Harrie Smolders replaced Willem Greve (with Zypria S) in the final of the Nations Cup.

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Tokyo 2020 | Edward Gal in the team competition

Three Horsemen

Since the Tokyo Olympics, the number of team members per country has decreased. Previously, a team consisted of four combinations, with one result being deleted. Since Tokyo, teams in all equestrian disciplines consist of three combinations, with each result counting.

All countries are allowed to take four combinations to Paris, whereby the national coach can decide to deploy the reserve combination (Kim Emmen) after the team qualification.

Country competition

Unlike the Games in Tokyo, the show jumpers in Paris will start with the battle for team medals. The first course that course designer Santiago Varela sets up is the team qualification competition (a competition against the clock). Twenty teams, each consisting of three combinations, will compete for a place in the final, which is reserved for the ten highest-ranked teams.

In the team finals, the counter is reset to zero and the riders (three per team) jump a course over one lap (directly against the clock). In case of an equal number of penalty points, a jump-off against the clock follows for the distribution of the medals.

Individual struggle – how does it work?

After two rest days, the individual qualification competition follows, in which 75 combinations are allowed to participate. A maximum of three combinations per country are allowed to appear at the start. The individual qualification is carried out over one round, without a jump-off.

The 30 highest placed combinations may start a day later in the final in which the individual medals are distributed. The results achieved in the qualification do not count, all combinations start with zero penalty points in the individual final.

The individual final is performed with one round against the clock with a jump-off in case of an equal number of penalty points for first place. At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Maikel van der Vleuten won the individual bronze medal with Beauville NOP. That is the same horse with which he is now also part of the team.

WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING?

Eurosport and HBO Max will broadcast the battle for gold, silver and bronze live during Paris 2024. Just like in Tokyo and Beijing, we will bring you all the matches in Paris live with a large team of experts and commentators, with all the emotions, reactions, analyses and backgrounds. Follow our new channel on Whatsapp already?

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