The U.S. Para dressage team made headlines time after time after time over the past four days, winning its greatest tally of Paralympic medals in 25 years.
Roxanne Trunnell, aboard Dolton, kicked off what would be a historic performance by the squad when she won gold in the individual test Grade I on Friday. Hers was the United States’ first Paralympic equestrian medal in 17 years and first gold in 25 years.
When medal events resumed on Sunday, the U.S. earned bronze in the dressage team test to music. Two-time Olympian Trunnell combined with four-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart, with El Corona Texel, and first-time Paralympian Kate Shoemaker, aboard Solitaer 40, for the program’s first-ever Paralympic team medal.
That trio also made history in 2018 when they combined for four medals at the World Equestrian Games, the sport’s premier event and one where the U.S. had never before medaled in Para dressage. Held in Mill Spring, North Carolina, Hart earned silver in the individual freestyle Grade III and bronze in the individual championship Grade III. Trunnell (Grade I) and Shoemaker (Grade IV) both took home bronze medals in individual freestyle.
On Monday, the final day of equestrian competition in Tokyo, Shoemaker was fourth in the individual freestyle test Grade IV and compatriot Beatrice de Lavalette and Clarc were sixth in the Grade II event, while Trunnell once again returned to the podium, winning the Grade I event. This time she and Dolton set a Paralympic record of 86.927%.
With three medals, the U.S. team had its best performance since the Atlanta 1996 Games, when it also earned two golds and a bronze. The Americans’ medals in Tokyo are the only medals by a North American country in Paralympic equestrian in 13 years.
Trunnell tied three others for the most Paralympic medals by a U.S. equestrian; Cynthia Good, Tim Saxton, Wendy Shugal each claimed three in 1984, when the sport debuted before reappearing in 1996. She also tied Saxton and Vicki Sweigart (1996) for the most golds at two apiece.
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