FEI President Ingmar De Vos had double cause for celebration this week after confirmation that all human and equine samples taken during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games had returned negative.
“Keeping our sport clean is a central part of our daily work at the FEI, but to have back-to-back clean Games in London and Rio is something for any sport to be proud of, especially as we were testing for more substances than ever before”, the FEI President said today. “And that’s on top of absolutely brilliant equestrian sport in Rio, so we really have something to celebrate!”
A total of 60 equine samples – 30% of the 200 competing horses – were tested during the Games. The samples were sent to the FEI’s Central Laboratory in Newmarket (GBR), one of the five FEI Approved Laboratories worldwide, with the final batch of results returned to FEI Headquarters this week.
Human testing, which is conducted by the IOC during the Olympic Games, also returned 100% negatives for the equestrian athletes that were sampled.
“The sport in Rio was just incredible”, Ingmar De Vos said. “Two Olympic champions not only successfully defended their London 2012 titles, but they did it on the same horse, which is a fantastic achievement. Germany’s Michael Jung won with Sam in Eventing, and the British combination of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro topped an all-female podium in Dressage, just as they had four years ago in front of their home crowd. And the IOC President Thomas Bach was there to see them do it.
“Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat was also bidding to do the same, but he hit the first fence in the jump-off for gold with his 2012 winner Nino des Buissonnets to finish fourth and out of the medals.
“So we finished the Games with a six-way battle against the clock and Britain’s Nick Skelton, became the oldest Olympic Jumping champion in history at the age of 58, taking gold with Big Star. Both Big Star and Nick Skelton have to overcome serious injury problems, so it shows that strength of character and determination really are key to winning at the highest level, no matter what the sport.
“And our team competitions were just as thrilling. France took team gold in both Eventing and Jumping. The Eventing team win was the first gold of the 2016 Games for France, and the winning French Jumping team included Philippe Rozier, son of Marcel Rozier, who was on the gold-medal team in Montreal 1976, so there were lots of very proud French supporters!
“Germany has always been the team to beat in Dressage. They had 12 Olympic team golds coming into Rio, although the British had claimed the title in London, but things were back to normal this time with Germany out in front, and by a distance!
“We owe a huge debt of thanks to the Rio 2016 organising committee. They were working in very challenging circumstances, but they produced a fabulous venue that provided the perfect stage for our equestrian events, and which will be ideal for the Paralympics as well.
“We couldn’t have asked for more exciting sport and now to have confirmation that clean sport and fair play have also come out as winners is the icing on the cake! I couldn’t be happier!”