LONDON 2012: In-form Bechtolsheimer leads four strong British Olympic dressage team
LAURA Bechtolsheimer will lead a four-strong British dressage team at the London 2012 Olympics as she looks to upgrade her three world silvers with a double gold this summer.
Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris, nicknamed Alf, have proved a mean double act in recent years and will be joined by Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester in the team and individual events.
At 57 Richard Davison will compete in the individual event only - making him the oldest athlete, at 57, of the 218 British team members selected so far.
“I am really pleased, although it was not a great surprise as I feel we have been on good form," said Bechtolsheimer.
"It was nice to have it confirmed and official. We can now start planning as a team which is exciting.
“The three of us in the team event have confidence in each other and we work well together as a team. Although dressage is an individual sport, it is great to know we can be a positive support to one another at the Games.
“It will be so different to Beijing 2008. It is good to have been through the experience before, but I feel a completely different athlete this time, and Alf and I are much more confident and established and have had continued success since then.
"This time, we will really be able to knuckle down and get on with the job.”
Although Great Britain has never won an Olympic dressage medal, a recent improvement in form could buck the trend this summer, with the British team winning silver at the World Championships in 2010 and gold at last year's European Championships.
“This is as exciting a squad as we have ever taken to an Olympic Games," said Team GB equestrian team leader Will Connell.
"I’m sure the riders will be knuckling down over the next few weeks to ensure they deliver our best performances as there will be other nations with their eyes on the dressage medals.”
© Sportsbeat 2012