Paralympic Games: Two gold medals for Michèle George in dressage
The Belgian rider won two dressage competitions at the Tokyo Olympic Games in Grade V with her mount Best of 8. She thus adds a fifth Paralympic medal to her list of achievements after those brought back from the London and Rio Olympics. Manon Claeys won two bronze medals in Grade IV.
With Rainman, her favourite horse, she had already won the dressage event at the two previous Paralympic Games (London 2012 and Rio 2016). With her new mount, Best of 8, she won another gold medal in the individual test in dressage.
Since the Atlanta Games in 1996, the Paralympic dressage competition has been organised around a division of riders into different grades (I, II, III, IV and V) corresponding to their degree of disability. All participants compete together, whether they are athletes with a physical or visual disability. But medals are awarded in each of the grades respectively. Michèle George, who suffers from a hemiplegic knee following a riding accident, lined up in Grade V.
The rider from Waregem (province of West Flanders) gave a magnificent performance and was awarded 76.524 points. Her deliverance came shortly after the other two big favourites had ridden, Britain's Sophie Wells (with Don Cara), double world champion in 2018, and the Dutchman Frank Hosmar (with Alphaville), triple European champion in 2019, who only got 74.405 and 73.405 respectively. A few days later, she repeated the feat in the freestyle event.
The 47-year-old Belgian has won two more gold medals in her third Paralympic Games. In Grade IV, both in the test event and in freestyle, Manon Claeys won two bronze medals.