André Thieme is the new European Champion 2021

Fuchs, Thieme, Fredricson - EM-Medaillengewinner 2021

Fuchs, Thieme, Fredricson - EM-Medaillengewinner 2021

André Thieme is the new European Champion 2021

 

It was the crowning conclusion of a fantastic weekend at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship in Riesenbeck. After two highly exciting rounds it was clear: The new European Champion is André Thieme and he has his super mare DSP Chakaria to thank for this. Silver went to the defending champion and newly crowned European Team Champion from Switzerland, Martin Fuchs with Leone Jei. Bronze went to Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S from Sweden. 

 

24 pairs competed in the furious final of the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship. Already the first round was a challenge. Twelve obstacles with a triple and a double combination were waiting for the pairs, i.e. 15 jumps. Especially on the last line, course designer Frank Rothenberger had set tricky tasks that demanded various victims. Even Martin Fuchs, who had been in the lead up to that point, did not come out of the course without obstacle faults. The situation was different for André Thieme and DSP Chakaria. They had remained sovereign zero and thus took the lead before the second round. 

 

Then part B of the final. Another ten obstacles including a triple combination, i.e. twelve jumps where something could still happen. Here only the twelve best pairs of the four previous rounds competed. The mistakes were accumulating. Albführen's Maddox, the gelding of European Team Champion Steve Guerdat (SUI), could not get along with the Longines Wall at all and was eliminated. The shooting star of this tournament, the Greek rider Ioli Mytilineou, whose Levis de Muze had not made a single mistake so far, did not get any distance to the triple combination. Quite a horsewoman, the 24-year-old chose to retire. It was also the jump-in "of the triple" that fell for favorite Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei. Nevertheless, Fuchs initially took the lead. The next to cross the start line was Peder Fredericson. The Swede had been second after the first part of the final. No one would have thought that the team Olympic champion and individual runner-up in Tokyo would make another mistake with his Catch Me Not S in this final. But the pair was already caught at obstacle two. However, since Fuchs also had a pole down, nothing changed in the ranking. 

 

Then came André Thieme as the last starter. The gold was within his reach. The mistakes of his riders had even given him some breathing room. He and Chakaria were able to afford one fence down. Two time faults were also allowed. But that was all. Thieme rode up. Obstacle one, two, three, four - no problem at all. Unlike the competitors, Chakaria still jumped powerfully. Then the triple combination. The bar at the jump-in fell. The audience groaned collectively. After that, it immediately became quiet and Thieme kept his nerve. He rode very cool to the end of the course and when he had cleared the last mighty oxer, the enthusiastic cheers of the 3250 spectators in the stadium in Riesenbeck, which was sold out in accordance with Corona, erupted. "Going into the second round, when I knew I could even have one rail, I was pretty confident," Thieme said afterwards. "First two fences felt super good, but then at the combination, even though I got there as I wanted to, we had a rail. And from there on, I thought it was still a long way to go! I tried to stay calm and luckily, my horse stayed calm with me. I am blessed with this horse, she is something really special!" 

 

The loudest applause came from the Mecklenburger's personal fan club, his soccer team, who dressed in "Team Thieme" T-shirts to support their superstar throughout the week. Thieme is the twelfth German European champion since 1957 and the first from the new German states. A historic success! 

 

It was also a first for the Riesenbeck International team, which passed its acid test as championship host with flying colors. Martin Fuchs took the opportunity at the closing press conference to thank Ludger Beerbaum on behalf of his colleagues for hosting this fantastic tournament in difficult times. "There was no one who was not thrilled," said Fuchs. "We call you 'The Legend' behind your back: You are the most inspiring person in our sport! On behalf of all the riders, I want to thank Ludger for organizing this event. We see many competitions that have years to prepare their events – and you had such short notice, in these complicated times. That you built this facility, and ran this event – we really appreciate your effort!" "Watching Andre ride was special. Today, I was not good enough for gold but now I am happy with the silver," Fuchs continued. "Andre was just better than me today and I hope one day I will be better again!"