Linsenhoff becomes first woman to win dressage gold

It was twenty years after women were admitted to the Dressage competition, making it one of the only Olympic events in which men and women compete on equal terms. In that time, women riders had won silver and bronze medals, but had never reached the top step. That, though, was about to change.

Liselott Linsenhoff had been competing in Olympic Dressage for a long time. She'd taken a bronze in  the Individual event in 1956, finishing just behind the remarkable Lis Hartel, who had recovered from polio but was still paralysed from the knees down. Back then, though, a man had taken gold.So it was in the following three Games, with male athletes taking the individual victories. Linsenhoff missed the first two of them and had then placed eighth in 1968, although she had won a Team silver in 1956, and a Team gold in 1968.

Of the 33 riders entered into the individual dressage, more than half were women. Twenty, in fact, among whom were the gold and silver medallists. Yelena Petushkova, a Russian competing for the Soviet Union, was riding Pepel and finished second in the competition, just ahead of the German Josef Neckermann. But Lisenhoff was way out in front, with 1229 points to Petushkova's 1185.