Olympic. World. Europeans.
Only one nation in history has held the trifecta of championship team titles in the same year. Until today.
Germany accomplished the feat in 2000, after taking team gold at the 1998 World Championships, 1999 European Championships and 2000 Olympic Games.
On Friday, Sweden joined show jumping’s most exclusive club.
Clinching the team gold at the FEI Jumping European Championships, the reigning Olympic and World team champions completed their medal in Milan, Italy—and they left little doubt about the end result.
With a four fault performance from lead off rider, world no. 1 Henrik von Eckermann, and clears from both Wilma Hellstrom and Cicci BJN and Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmpolit, the Swedes gold medal fate was decided before the final round of team riders set foot in the ring.
“I’m lost for words,” said chef d’equipe Henrik Ankarcrona. “I think it’s the first time ever Sweden holds [the European] title in show jumping. I’m just so happy.”
Ankarcrona’s been playing the long game, focusing on bringing up new combinations. Notably, world no. 1 von Eckermann did not ride his top horse King Edward at the Europeans while Hellstrom made her senior championship debut with her one-eyed wonder mare.
“We had a year without that much success in the Nations Cup, but really just a long term plan to get the horses ready for the championship because the big goal is Paris. So this is very important for us to try new combinations,” said Ankarcrona.
“And I knew deep down, we all knew, that if everyone performs at their best and maybe even can raise the bar a little bit, we would have the possibility to go on the podium and maybe even all the way. And now to be here. They’re just so fantastic. I’m so proud.”
The man of the minute: Fredricson, who not only secured the team gold with his third clear round of the week but also his spot atop the individual leaderboard.
With anchor rider Rolf Göran Bengtsson and Zuccero delivering a third clear, the Swedes were in a class of their own as the only team to finish on their round 2 score of 9.51.
Ireland took a distant second on 18 faults, with a clear from Michael Duffy (Cinca 3) and four fault performances from Shane Sweetnam (James Kann Cruz), Eoin McMahon (Mila) and Trevor Breen (Highland President).
The week’s dark horse star: Austria. Gerfried Puck, Katharina Rhomberg, Max Kuhner and Alessandra Reich squeaked into bronze on 22.7, earning the nation’s first even podium finish at the European Championships and book their ticket to Paris.
Spain and Switzerland also qualified for the 2024 Olympics.