2005 was another packed and eventful year for Olympic Bronze medallist Pippa Funnell. Following on from her success at the summer games in Athens, where she helped the team to Silver before taking the individual Bronze medal, Pippa has added Badminton and Windsor titles to her ever growing list of achievements. With her autobiography riding high in the Amazon charts, her computer game, Stud Farm Inheritance, continuing to top the PC game sales charts and her range of toys flying off the Early Learning Centre shelves, it's clear that Pippa's determination, drive and devotion to her sport, is proving an inspiration to many...
Pippa Funnell's position at top of 3 Day Eventing was cemented in 2003 when she achieved a landmark record by winning the Rolex Grand Slam title. As well as a healthy bonus from Rolex, Pippa earned herself a place in the history books as the first person to achieve this feat.
A year later and she broke yet more records when she became the first person to win the Blenheim International Horse Trials for an incredible fourth time. In addition to this, Pippa also won a team Silver Medal and Individual Bronze at the Olympic Games in Athens, proving once again her unique status in International 3 Day Eventing.
It was in the spring of 2003, as Pippa followed up her fantastic victories at Badminton and Kentucky with a further success at Saumur in France two weeks later, that she seemed to be invincible. However, there followed a couple of falls and a minor injury to her most successful horse, Supreme Rock and she went to Burghley in September with her confidence dented and weighed down by huge expectation from the media and public. However, such is her determination and strength of character that she conjured a superb performance from Primmore's Pride, including a faultless round in the final show jumping phase, to win her first Burghley title and achieve her dream of a Grand Slam.
A week later she became the first rider to win the Blenheim International Horse Trials three times, taking the £10,000 first prize with Jurassic Rising and finishing third with Viceroy. She then went to Punchestown in Ireland to defend the individual title that she had won in 1999 and 2001 on Supreme Rock. She narrowly failed to make it three in a row, clinching a bronze medal with the inexperienced Walk On Star and helping the British team to win their fifth successive team title.
After a successful career as a junior and young rider, Pippa at first struggled to establish herself as a senior international. It became an all too familiar sight to see Pippa put in an excellent performance in the dressage phase and then throw it away with mistakes on the cross country course. By her own admission she suffered from nerves that were threatening to ruin her career.
Help from a sports psychologist produced dramatic change and since winning her first European title in 1999, she has become the backbone of the British team, winning three European team gold medals, Olympic silver in Sydney, a team bronze at the World Equestrian Games in 2002 and team silver and individual bronze at the Olympics last year.
Away from eventing Pippa was also showered with awards and praise in 2003, including the title of Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year (Nov 2003), the Sports Journalist Association Pat Besford Award for outstanding individual sporting achievement (Dec 2003) as well as being named BBC South's Sports Personality of the Year and reaching the last five of the overall BBC Sports Personality of the Year.