Anky van Grunsven
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Anky van Grunsven hardly needs an introduction. She has won every major title that can be earned in equestrian sports.
Anky has been named Rider of the Year six times, and in 2000 she was awarded the Rider of the Century title.
After winning the World Equestrian Games in The Hague, she was elected the Netherlands' "Female Athlete of the Year" - not just for equestrian sports, but for all sports. Her success is reflected in her philosophy: "We should never think we know everything. Good is never good enough. Good should be superb." Anky won five consecutive World Cup titles from 1995 to 2000. In 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008, Anky won the World Cup title with her Athens Olympic mount IPS Salinero.
In 2005 she became the first Dutch rider to win the dressage title in Aachen, and the following year she won the gold freestyle medal at the World Equestrian Games with Salinero. Salinero retired after London 2012, which was Anky's seventh Olympics. She has also won four team silvers for the Netherlands and has a record eight Olympic dressage medals in total. She is a nine-time World Cup dressage champion. Surprisingly, Anky entered the world of dressage by default. When she first started riding, her passion was show jumping. But after convincing her father to buy Prisco, her first horse, she soon discovered the wild side to her new jumping partner. Unable to control him over fences, she took up dressage to channel his energy. But when she later tried to reintroduce jumping to the horse, he would not comply, so Anky decided to do what her horse was best suited to and continued with dressage. The decision proved smart; it was aboard Prisco that she qualified for her first Olympic Games in 1988. And she never looked back. Anky is such an admired athlete that has her own fan club, and her website www.anky.nl is extremely popular. She also has her own clothing brand, Anky Technical Casuals.
She is trained by her husband, Sjef Janssen. Pregnant when she won her individual gold medal in Athens, she gave birth to Yannick Janssen in November 2004. In March 2007, she gave birth to their daughter, Ava Eden.