FEI Awards
Best Athlete

18 November 2016

The last category for the 2016 FEI Awards this week is for the Best Athlete.

This is the person across all of our sports that has shown exceptional skill and helped to take the sport to a whole new level.


Isabell Werth (GER) 


Being a German equestrian athlete seems to almost guarantee some kind of major success these days - and Isabell is no exception!  The Rio Olympics were her 5th Games and she didn’t disappoint by raking in Team gold and individual silver medals. 


To date she, has won an astounding ten Olympic medals medals, six gold and four silver and as a result holds the record for the most Olympic medals won by any equestrian athlete.


A major contender for the award, if ever there was one...



Astier Nicolas


This French Eventing star started riding at 7 years old, representing his Nation in 2005 at the FEI European Pony Championships and then from 2006-2010 with horses at the FEI European Championships for Young Riders. 


This year he competed in his first Olympic Games this year in Rio and came home with Team gold and individual silver.  Not bad for his first time!


Since then he has gone from strength to strength and had several top ten placings in 2016 including a win at CIC3* in Chatsworth.  


Nick Skelton


Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few decades, you'll surely have heard of this Jumping legend.  The 58 years old began riding at 18 months old - yes, 18 months -  and began his meteoric rise to success by winning 2 team silvers and an individual gold at the FEI European Championships for juniors back in 1975.


He has gone on to win a slew of awards, including Olympic golds at the past 2 Games, and currently holds the British Showjumping High Jump record.



Sophie Christiansen (GBR) 

Sophie Christiansen (Grade Ia) successfully defended her three gold medals from the London 2012 Paralympic Games with another three gold medals at Rio2016: Team, Individual Championship and Freestyle. 


Her wins were also the most spectacular as she won by nearly 4 percentage points ahead of silver placed Anne Dunham in the Championship test and 3.5 percentage points in the Freestyle. 


She also earned the highest scores of all the Para Dressage events of the Paralympic Games. 


She now has 8 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze Paralympic medals to her name, placing her second behind Paralympic legend Lee Pearson. 



Christiansen was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for services to disabled sport and she was then appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to equestrianism. 


In 2015 Christiansen won a 'Women of the Future Award'. It was the first year that a sports category was included and the judges picked out Sophie for her ‘ferocious determination to succeed'


As if her sporting achievements weren't enough, Sophie has a MSci degree (undergraduate honours) with a first class Masters degree in mathematics from the University of London's Royal Holloway College and alongside training works part-time as a statistical analyst in the technology department at investment bank Goldman Sachs. 


That's it!  All the categories have been covered and you now know all the nominees for this year's FEI Awards, be be announced at the gala evening in Tokyo this Tuesday, November 22.

We'll be sure to bring you the latest from this star-studded evening - the news, gossip, great images and much more.  Keep it here...


Images by Cara Grimshaw, Tal Cohen & Richard Juilliart/FEI