I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve fallen totally and utterly head over heels for Charlotte Dujardin‘s Gio, or ‘Pumpkin’, as he’s known to his pals. He’s so small! So orange! Such a little try-hard! And at only ten years old, he’ll likely be around to add a bit of pony power to the world stages of dressage for a long time to come. I hope Charlotte always lets him hang his medals off his teensy-weensy earsies. (Mind you, we must give a big nod to Charlotte herself, here – she won her fifth Olympic medal yesterday, putting her on equal footing with Dame Kathleen Grainger as the most decorated British female Olympian of all time!)
Yesterday in Tokyo:
- World Champion judoka Saeid Mollaei won his first Olympic medal – a silver – in the men’s 81kg judo final. He competed for Mongolia, the country he defected to from his native Iran in 2019 after he disobeyed national orders to withdraw from the Judo World Cup, where he was facing an Israeli opponent. Iran has refused to engage in sporting competitions with Israel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and Mollaei’s decision means his life would be at risk if he were to return to Iran.
- That’s not the only news concerning Israel and judo, mind you. Two athletes have withdrawn to avoid fighting Israeli opponents, with one – Algeria’s Fethi Nourine – citing his support for Palestine as the reason. “We worked a lot to reach the Olympics… but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this,” he said.
- Canoe slalom competitor Ricarda Funk won Germany its first gold of the Games and paid an emotional tribute after her win to her late coach Stefan Hentze, who died in a car crash during the Rio Olympics. Ricarda also spoke compellingly about her hometown, which was devastated in the recent flooding in Germany.
- US gymnast and G.O.A.T. Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s team final and individual, citing a need to prioritise her mental health. This came as something of a surprise to many, but for fearless Simone, who has changed the game in so many ways, this is hopefully the dawning of a new era of sporting consciousness.
- British diver Tom Daley made headlines on Monday when he finally won a long-coveted gold medal – but yesterday, he was back on everyone’s radar for probably the most wholesome reason imaginable. He’s been knitting covers for his medals so they don’t get scratched. N’awww.
- Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history by becoming the first-ever gold medallist for the Philippines and setting an Olympic record all in one go. She lifted a combined weight of 224kg in the women’s 55kg class, despite spending months of lockdown stranded in Malaysia, where she trained by attached water containers to large sticks.
U.S. Weekend Preview
Wednesday Reading List:
Burghley’s longtime director Liz Inman is stepping down after 16 years in the role and four decades working at the event.
Need a bit more inspiration from the dressage ring? Rebecca Langwost-Barlow has exactly what you need, after coming back from a nearly career-ending fall and a long pandemic to win at Grand Prix.
Lusitanos are having their moment in the sun after capturing hearts during the dressage. Find out more about the progression of the breed – and ogle some gorgeous photos – here.
Bit of an equine nutrition buff? Then you’ll be keen to find out more about new research that suggests that we’re not taking fermentation into account when planning our horses’ meals.
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To steam or not to steam? That’s the question, and Haygain has a new case study on the effects and benefits of hay steaming in their latest blog.
It’s time to catch up on day four’s highlights from the BBC!