Olympic Stories

Anky Van Grunsven - Dressage

Anky Van Grunsven - Dressage

Born on January 2, 1968 in Erp, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands, Theodora Elisabeth Gerarda van Grunsven is one of the most successful equestrians in the world. Known by everyone as Anky van Grunsven, this 43-year-old dressage competitor has over 30 medals in various competitions and has been competing in the Olympic Games since the Summer Games in Atlanta circa 1996.

Going into the Summer Games in London this coming year, Grunsven will have over 20 years under her belt as a dressage competitor, and there are few in the sport that have been able to top her success, either as a team member or an individual rider. She is one of the big favorites in this year’s Games, and with over 30 great reasons.

Sporting Career

Anky van Grunsven’s life has been about dressage since the 1990s. She is married to another successful champion in the field, who is also her equestrian coach, Sjef Janssen. Anky’s career really started to take off in the early 1990s, but it was the mid 90s that she started to experience the most success.
At the World Championships in 1994, she was part of a great team that took home the silver medal, but in the individual event, Anky excelled and won the gold medal. And in 1996, Anky branched out on her own again in the Olympic Games and claimed silver in the dressage event. This would be the start of a full decade’s worth of medals.

At the start of the new millennium, Grunsven came in with a bang, taking home Olympic Gold at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She would also help her team win a silver medal in the same games. She would repeat her gold-medal-winning ways at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, winning again in the individual dressage event. And for the next three years, she would win a gold medal at the European Championships and the World Championships respectively.

With her dominance in the sport, Anky was the big favorite going into the 2008 Games in Beijing. She didn’t disappoint; Grunsven won another gold medal in the individual event and again helped her team secure a silver medal. She would also go on to help her team win gold at the European Championships in 2009, while she would slip down in the individual rankings and take home the bronze.

The past few years have been relatively quiet for Grunsven. She hasn’t been competing as much, as she hasn’t been winning in the same volume she used to when she did compete. However, most speculate that her dominance took a back seat to raising her two children, and that Anky is more focused than ever on the 2012 Summer Games in London, where she will enter amongst the favorites in her respective event.

Career Highlights

  • 1994 World Championships – Gold (individual), Silver (team)
  • 1996 Olympic Games – Silver (2: team, individual)
  • 1999 European Championships – Gold
  • 2000 Olympic Games – Gold (individual), Silver (team)
  • 2004 Olympic Games – Gold
  • 2005 European Championships – Gold
  • 2008 Olympic Games – Gold (individual), Silver (team)
  • 2012 Olympic Games– Bronze (team)

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