While we have often heard that the lucky socks made the difference and led to a Championship win, this is a story about a lucky dollar whose claim to fame, similarly to the socks, revolves around being in the right place and at the right time, a time when “victory” and joy was showered upon three equestrian champions.


It all began during the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City when an unassuming greenback dollar was happily lodged in American rider, Bill Steinkraus’ pocket as he rode Snowbound to victory, and became Olympic Show Jumping Champion.


Had it just of been on the one occasion, one could say that the dollar was indeed lucky, however, as it turned out, the lucky dollar found itself again in the right pocket at the right time…


Twenty years passed and the Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul were looming in the foreground as was Bill Steinkraus. For reasons unknown, he handed his lucky charm over to French horseman Pierre Durand. The lucky dollar then made history, as Pierre Durand riding Jappeloup de Luze went on to win a legendary gold medal, with what can only be described as an unforgettable little horse, who was nowhere near as well-built as his rivals (just over 15 hands). No doubt, with his modest stature and Olympic gold medal, Jappeloup de Luze became the star of the Games, while the lucky dollar now counted two gold medals in its trophy cabinet.


While this already seems to be verging on the legendary, the lucky dollar continued to sow its seed with yet another fantastic win, this time 16 years later (yes, a multiple of 4) with another Olympic podium!


This time the lucky dollar was, of all places, in Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games. Pierre Durand decided to test the fate of the precious note and handed it to Rodrigo Pessoa from Brazil. History repeated itself, albeit in a strange twist of events, while the lucky dollar rode splendidly with Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet, the fabulous chestnut stallion. As the strange twist of fate would have, Rodrigo Pessoa was originally awarded the silver medal, but due to an unforeseen disqualification of the gold medalist, Rodrigo Pessoa and hence the lucky dollar then stepped up to pole position to become Olympic Champions.


Believe in them or not, good luck charms and superstitions have been an integral part of human life throughout history, and while skeptics may say that the lucky dollar had a funny knack for riding with exceptional riders and horses, there is no harm in believing.


It would now appear that this very lucky dollar has recently been donated to the Olympic Museum, located on the banks of Lake Geneva in Lausanne and is to be exposed in the 2006 Acquisitions exhibition to be held from 15 February to 10 June. Not a bad retirement home for a lucky greenback. Be sure to get a glimpse of the champion, blessed with neither jumping nor speedy prowess that somehow remained at the edge of elite sport and on the top spot of the podium, and this for over 36 years. Indeed, a champion of sorts…