Olympic champion Jung forced to switch horses for Rio

Germany's Michael Jung riding fischer Takinou jumps a fence during the show jumping at the FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle ,Scotland

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Olympic eventing team and individual champion Michael Jung has had to change horses for the Rio Games a week before the animals are due to fly to Brazil.

The double gold medalist said he will now ride Sam, the 16-year-old he won with in London in 2012, after his first choice Takinou suffered an infection.

However, Germany’s eventing team trainer Chris Bartle, a Briton, told the Horse and Hound website that the replacement had yet to be decided with Rocana another option.

“Today I have to write the worst news of the year,” said Jung on his Facebook page. “Takinou has suffered a febrile infection after his victory in Aachen (last week) and cannot fly to Rio.”

Only two horse and rider pairings have ever won back-to-back individual Olympic gold medals in eventing, the most recent being New Zealander Mark Todd on Charisma in 1984 and 1988.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tony Jimenez)