Dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin has put equestrian sport firmly in the spotlight with her short-list nomination for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The 29 year old rider has had a remarkable year with Carl Hester and Roly Luard’s Valegro in taking a number of World titles which has earned her a coveted place. Ten athletes were nominated with Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton and golfer Rory McIlroy favourites to lift the title on Sunday 14 December. Being a public vote, if the three million strong equestrian world rallies behind her as happened in 2006 for Zara Phillips and then AP McCoy in 2010 when they won, Charlotte has a chance of lifting the famous trophy.
In April, Charlotte became the first British winner of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup TM Finals in Lyon and during the competition broke her own World Record for the grand prix test with 87.129%. A matter of months later, she was on the world stage again at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In the team competition, she and Valegro were the anchor partnership and they entered the d’Ornano Stadium in Normandy knowing that they needed a world-class performance to secure a team medal and also the all-important qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympics. They delivered on every level and the team took silver behind Germany.
In the individual championships, competition was fierce with a number of her top rivals in the form of their careers. She and ‘Blueberry’ were the winners in the grand prix special competition by 2% with German rider Helen Langehanenberg hot on her heels. On freestyle day, the tension was almost unbearable. The stadium was rocking with an atmosphere akin to football with an expectant crowd. Riding to a new music programme, Charlotte simply blew the audience away with the performance and the judges were unanimous in awarding her the gold.
Her 2014 performances now mean she is the first British rider in history to simultaneously hold the individual titles at Olympic, World and European levels. She also holds all three world records for tests at grand prix, special and freestyle. Add to this her FEI World Cup title and the fact she’ll finish the year atop the world rankings, Charlotte is simply a world beater.
Now is the time to rally round and call to the equestrian community to unite in the campaign to get Charlotte on the podium on Sunday 14 December at the Glasgow Hydro which hosts this year’s star studded sporting review of 2014. The vote is purely down to the public and all on the night by phone or via the BBC website. If you intend to vote online, you’ll need to register for a BBC iD -http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/sports-personality/30172271. Phone numbers will be released during the live programme on BBC One, 5 live and the BBC Sport website.
The BEF has a number of promotional graphics for free use and are urging everyone to show their support on social media networks with the hashtag #Dujardin4SPOTY.