Four-time Olympian Ben Maher, riding Explosion W, has become just the second Brition to win the jumping individual event at the Olympic Games with victory at Tokyo 2020.
It was also the 38-year-olds first individual title at the Olympic Games after winning gold the Team Jumping final at London 2012.
And after coming twice second individually at European Championships – the one at Rotterdam 2019 took Maher a while to get over – he told himself that if he was ever in that position again he would go out into the arena with no regrets.
“It was all risk for reward and that’s what we did,” the British rider said.
After a final that saw six riders jump clear, meaning they had no faults, it came down to a nail-biting jump off for the medals.
Japan’s FUKUSHIMA Daisuke set the tone for the jump-off, again riding clean but each rider subsequently going faster than the one before including Maher with a 37.85.
With Sweden’s Peter Fredricson and his horse All In already sitting in the silver medal position and teammate Henrick von Eckermann in bronze, it came down to the Netherlands Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z.
However, it was the Dutch athlete who was able to clinch bronze, the Netherlands first equestrian medal since the London 2012 with a 38.90 run.
Again no one in the final made a mistake, with all riders have double clears.
View this post on Instagram
“It’s always tough when you get six people in the jump off. I guess in an ideal world it would be nice to have three people in the jump off and you’re all going home with a medal but it was a big track, it had a little bit of everything today, it was fair but it caused a lot of trouble for a lot of people,” Maher said.
Maher and Explosion are considered to be one of the fastest combinations in the sport.
“Never again in my lifetime will I ride a horse like Explosion,” Maher said. “I’ve had some incredible horses and support from some amazing owners…but Charlotte, Rosetta and Pam have made it possible to keep him for me for this moment. It’s a special bond we have.”
Maher’s victory also sees Great Britain continue their prowess in equestrian at Tokyo 2020, taking medals in all five events so far.