Wednesday 17 August - 18h02 | Lulu Kyriacou
French Win Showjumping Gold
The French have added the 2016 Olympic team show jumping gold medal to their eventing one with a masterful performance in the last round which saw them win with a rider in hand. Kevin Staut, Roger Yves Bost and Phillippe Rozier had already done the necessary without Penelope even having to ride at all.
First round drama
The team final began with the sad new that America's Beezie Madden and Cortez C would take no further part in the competition after the horse picked up a tendon injury in the previous day's jumping. Michael Whitaker also withdrew Cassionato after the horse showed signs of colic.
Guilherme Jorge's course was bigger, and included a double of solid looking planks but no open water and a time of 82 seconds was tight. None of the first ten riders got inside it, but the ground jury declined to extend it which meant tactics came in to play as well as jumping ability First to go in the team contest was Malin Baynard Johnsson for Sweden but her 17 faults was not the start Sweden needed. Janike Sprunger and Bonne Chance got the Swiss off to a flyer for just one time penalty as did Phillippe Rozier for France. So did Kent Farrington for the USA but Jeroen Dubbeldam and Zenith had an early rail to dent Dutch chances. Yann Candele was similarly unfortunate for Canada andEduado Menezes had his first rail of the week for Brazil. As did Christian Ahlmann when Taloubet Z hit the first part of the double of planks. This left the French and the Americans ahead at this early stage but the Swedish got back on track with a one time fault effort from Peder Fredrickson, whose All In has still not touched a pole in Rio so far. Romain Duguet made the same mistake as Christian Ahlmann and added a time fault for good measure. Tiffany Foster though, was the first to ride a completely clear round in the team competition on the ex British gold medallist Tripple X which really put the Canadians back in the picture. But she was followed by an equally brilliant round from France's unofficial captain Kevin Staut. Lucy Davis had an expensive fence on Barron in the middle of the combination now the USA had to count all of their remaining riders. The Dutch added a time fault from Maikel Van der Vleuten and Verdi. With Brasil no longer having a second rider, last to go in this round was Meredith Michaels Beerbaum had the last down on Fibonacci which cancelled their advantage.
All over in third round
As the riders went into the third rotation it was the French who led from the United States and the Netherlands but both of the latter only had one more rider to go and would have to count that score. Brasil were still technically on four faults but they would need clear rounds from both their remaining riders to stay in the picture. Henrik Von Eckermann did the Swedish no favours when the last went for Yajamila. Martin Fuchs and Clooney ended up on five when the last part of the combination went. Amy Millar had a disastrous 12 for Canada. A clear from Roger Yves Bost and the feisty Sydney Une Prince would almost certainly give the title to the French. And Bosty did it! They did not even need Penelope to go. It was a masterful performance by the French who have now won two equestrian gold medals in Rio. McLain Ward rode a superlative clear on Azur to give the silver to the Americans. Daniel Duesser had an expensive four on First Class.
The fourth round of riders therefore was only going to decide the minor medals. Captain Canada, Eric Lamaze was double clear on Fine Lady to put the Canadians in the driving seat for Bronze. The Dutch and the Brasilians fell away with faults from Harrie Smoulders and Pedro Veniss. Ludger Beerbaum would need to jump clear to take the bronze from Canada. The only German not to jump a clear so far, on this occasion Casallo simply flew for his legendary rider to force a jump off for Bronze.
Jump off for bronze
All the riders for both Canada and Germany would jump off and the best three total score would win with time deciding if faults were equal. Yann Candele and First Choice had a rail, but Christian Ahlmann was clear and fast on Taloubet. Tiffany Foster was clear on Tripple X but slower so what would Meredith do on Fibonacci. Go clear is what and keep the pressure on Canada. Amy Millar had a good time but felled the second last which gave the German's a two fence lead. Daniel Duesser did not need either, smoothly clear to give Germany the Bronze.
The remaining individual riders were first to go before the team contest started as they needed to jump to complete their individual totals and qualify for Fridays final. . Nick Skelton and Big Star hit the middle part of the combination and then added a time penalty but he was immediately followed by Ben Maher and Tic Tac who finally put a clear round on the board for a British rider and cemented their individual final appearance on Friday. Edwina Alexander and Lintea Tequila though proved to the coming teams that the time could be done, being the first to be entirely clear. she was then matched by another Jan Tops trained partnership as Sheik Al Thani of Qatar matched the Australian with a totally clean sheet. Ali Yousef Al Rumaihi was also clear as was Rene Tebbel, neither Gunder or Zipper having touched a pole all week. The top 35 altogether were going through and British fans were relieved to see that both Ben Maher and Nick Skelton made the cut.