Ten Olympic gold medalists from the last decade on the same stage is a record. The Longines Masters of Paris will welcome those who write the legend of our sport: our Olympic champions in Rio, Kevin Staut (FRA), Roger-Yves Bost (FRA), Philippe Rozier (FRA) and Pénélope Leprévost (FRA), the Beijing team champions (2008), Americans McLain Ward (USA) and Laura Kraut (USA), London Games champions, Swiss Steve Guerdat (an unforgettable individual round) and the British Ben Maher (GBR)and Scott Brash (GBR), and, last but not least, the sole Canadian Olympic gold medalist, Eric Lamaze (CAN). Ten medalists, but eleven gold medals if we take into account McLain Ward’s first Olympic title in Athens in 2004, and who was again a silver medalist at the Rio Games in 2016.
And if we consider the medalists of all metals, we must add Christian Ahlmann (GER) and Daniel Deusser (GER), who also have World Cup titles, the American Lucy Davis (USA), and the Dutch Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), himself also World Champion in 2014). In short, fourteen Olympic medalists (but seventeen medals!), which is more than a third of all the riders entered for this Longines Masters tin wedding with the Parisian public! In addition to Kevin Staut, Penelope Leprévost, McLain Ward and the two German riders, with Patrice Delaveau (FRA) and the Belgian Grégory Wathelet (BEL); seven former winners of a Masters’ Grand Prix will be at the start. As for Julien Epaillard (FRA), winner of the 2017 Longines Speed Challenge, he will also be in Paris to defend his title. And they are not the only stars this fabulous audience will discover starting Thursday!
The “Young” Category
Discover the young talents of this magnificent sport, riders who have made their way onto the international circuit this year, partly thanks to EEM, the organizer of the Longines Masters series who, for example, invited the young Frenchman Edward Levy (24 years old) to Paris last year, then to New York in April. The concept, particularly that of the Riders Masters Cup, requires coaches to introduce a rider under 25 years of age into their teams. Which is what happened to Edward Lewy, who was preselected alongside the British Harry Charles (19 years old), who is none other than the son of 2012 Olympic team champion Peter Charles (“He’s my model, having a father like him motivates me“).
Also, thanks to the Riders Masters Cup, the young American Spencer Smith (22 years old) will experience “five-star” level for the first time, but he goes into this with a solid background: this student of Eric Lamaze won the 4* Grand Prix of Valencia last August.
Not an “U25” anymore, the 31-year-old Frenchwoman Félicie Bertrand has literally exploded into the top level this season by winning the gold medal at the Mediterranean Games (and silver in the team event), she has taken her first steps at CSI O 5* level and will participate in her first Longines Masters with the horses of the Megret stable that Pénélope Leprévost used to ride, Sultane des Ibis and Chacco Rouge. A hell of a jump in the deep end!
Also a “rookie”, or almost – he participated in his first “five-star” one week after the Longines Masters of Paris last year, Norman Alexis Deroubaix (FRA) was selected for the French World Equestrian Games team in Tryon in September during his first season at this level. He came back with the best ranking of the French team thanks to a brilliant 9thindividual place with his fabulous horse Timon d’Aure that he rides wonderfully! He is a favorite for the Longines Grand Prix on Sunday.
Jessica Springsteen (USA), 27 years old, is also part of this young generation, but “The Boss'” daughter already has experience at the top level as she has won several Nations Cups with the US team.
Younger and Younger: the “Rider’s Lab”
The Masters Two and Masters Three events are full of even more young riders – sometimes much younger. These events, which Christophe Ameeuw and EEM run, open the doors to these young talents, allowing them to evolve in the context of a “six-star” competition, on courses created by the same course designer: German Frank Rothenberger, one of the worlds stars in the art of course design.
Camille Condé-Ferreira (FRA) is a bit of a leader in this “riders’ lab” generation, she who made such a successful transition from pony classes (where she was European Champion) to “hacks” with results in two- and three-star international competitions this year! This young class will face more experienced riders like Belgian Gudrun Pattet (BEL), who is used to five-star level and who just won the World Cup Grand Prix in Helsinki last month. In this division, you will also find Guillaume Canet (FRA) who promised that he will try to beat his own high jump record (1.80m) in Paris by participating in the Masters Power Lido where the riders of the Masters One will try to beat the Parisian record of 2.00m!
In Masters Three, it is undoubtedly Nicolas Canteloup‘s (FRA) three children, Anouk, Jeanne, who will be in the spotlight, particularly against the daughter of the creator of the Longines Masters, Louise Ameeuw… Transmission, one of the key values of the Longines Masters!
Source: Press release from Longines Masters
Photo: © EEM