It was a history making moment at the Equestrian Park as Germany's Julia Krajewski became the first female to win Olympic gold in the event
Germany's Julia Krajewski has become the first individual female athlete to win Olympic gold in individual eventing with a near-flawless final jump with her horse Amande de B'Neville.
While individual eventing became a mixed event at Tokyo 1964 and women had won three of the past four titles at the World Equestrian Games, no woman had ever won Olympic gold in this event until now.
"I'm super proud of my horse. I'm relieved and happy that I made it happen," Krajewski said.
"I'm very thankful for everyone who has been with me all the way. I won my first pony European title 20 years ago. And since then it's been a roller coaster really. And it's quite unreal."
After competing in the dressage and cross country on 30 July and 1 August respectively, it all came down to the jumping section of the eventing competition.
Krajewski had managed a 25.20 in the dressage portion, putting her fourth overall before her the cross-country run pushed her into second behind Oliver Townend of Great Britain.
But it was her and Amande de B'Neville (nicknamed Mandy) performance in the jumping during the individual qualifier that put her in line for the gold medal.
"I certainly was surprised that I was still in fifth (sic) after dressage. I thought I would be a bit more behind. And then I said to my showjumping coach, 'If I bring this home (in the showjumping), I'm going to win a medal'," she told media.
It hadn't been an easy journey to Tokyo 2020 for the German athlete. Sadly, at the start of 2021, her father passed away. She had also retired her previous horse Samouri de Thot, and was uncertain if she'd be selected in the German team.
"It's the stuff that films are made of...I thought the Olympics would happen without me. And that was fine," Krajewski said.
"Then slowly with going to Saumur (a competition in May) and winning there, and feeling that Mandy (her horse) really stepped up a level and could deliver something really big, I thought, 'Okay, Maybe you've got a little chance of going'.
"You have to know that the horse, she's still less experienced maybe than other horses, and we haven't been on the world stage together really yet. So doing a championship with her. I didn't really know where we would end up, how it would happen. But well, it worked."
Great Britain's Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser won silver - Team GB's first medal in the individual event since Beijing 2008 - while Australia's Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos had a flawless jump in the final to clinch bronze in his eighth Olympic Games.
It was the Australian's sixth Olympic medal in eventing and broke the record for the oldest Australian to medal at an Olympics.
"I'm actually grateful people can still say how old I am because when I started in the sport I used to be really proud of being the youngest person in the team," Hoy said. "When people meet me in the village they say, ‘Hey, so what do you do? Are you an official?' And I say, 'Well, I'm an athlete'."