Greenwich, UK – It was an historic day at Greenwich Park. Less than 24 hours after the British Show Jumping Team won its first Olympic Team Gold medal in 60 years, the British Dressage Team won its first Olympic medal ever, and it was Gold. They finished on a score of 79.979 to win Gold over Germany. The Netherlands won Bronze. The U.S. Dressage Team made a valiant run at a Team medal at Greenwich Park with some strong performances, but it simply wasn’t to be and they ended up sixth on a score of 72.435, behind Great Britain, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Steffen Peters led the way for Team USA scoring 76.254% to place seventh overall in the Grand Prix Special with Ravel.
Peters (San Diego, CA) rode last for the U.S. Team and he did everything he could to fight back into Team contention. Together with Four Wind Farms’ 14-year-old Dutch gelding, Peters was fourth individually at the 2008 Olympic Games, he will look to go better than that in the Freestyle on Thursday, which will decide the Individual medals.
London (GBR), 7 August 2012 – You could hardly have scripted it better as Great Britain’s Dressage riders scooped Olympic team gold today. Yesterday the equestrian venue at Greenwich Park resounded to the wild roars of the home crowd as their jumpers topped the team podium for the first time in 60 years. Today it was the turn of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin to bring spectators to their feet in celebration of the first-ever British Dressage medals in the history of the Games – and, even better, they were also golden ones.
They began the day with a narrow lead over Germany, whose fantastic record includes team gold at the previous seven Olympic and, once in front, the London 2012 host nation riders just wouldn’t let go. And the star of the show was 26-year-old Dujardin who burst onto the Dressage scene just 18 months ago and who sealed today’s result with another fabulous ride on the 10-year-old Valegro.
Germany had to settle for silver while The Netherlands took bronze.
London (GBR), 6 August 2012 – There were ecstatic scenes in Greenwich Park this afternoon when Great Britain ended a 60-year drought to claim Jumping team gold for only the second time in the history of the Olympic Games. They had to battle all the way, and it came down to a two-way jump-off against The Netherlands, but Nick Skelton, Peter Charles, Ben Maher and Scott Brash triumphed in the finest style and, to put the icing on the cake, they did it on home soil. Saudi Arabia took bronze behind the Dutch, with Switzerland finishing fourth and just outside the medals.
For Skelton and Charles, level at this success has been a long time coming. “It’s taken me 54 years,” Skelton said today. “It’s unbelievable and what a place to do it! I have a wonderful horse and it’s a dream come true. It’s great for our country and great for our sport. The lads have done great” he added, turning to his team-mates, “and I’m really pleased for Pete (Charles). He has had a rough trip but he came good in the end.”
For 52-year-old Charles it was no easy ride. “I got off to a bad start, but this is as good as it gets!” he said as he grasped the gold medal hanging around his neck.
Greenwich, UK – Hard luck continued for the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team as they rallied for a sixth place finish in the Team Championship at Greenwich Park. American anchor rider Rich Fellers said “Clear rounds win medals” and today that proved true as Great Britain won Team Gold for the first time since 1952. They did it in classic style in front of a home crowd of 20,000 fans, jumping off with Holland for the Gold medal. It was a masterful effort by the home team. Saudi Arabia won Bronze.
Bob Ellis’ track proved incredibly tough and scopey and only eight of the 51 starters managed clear rounds. The water line, from fences three to five proved very influential. The best American effort was turned in by Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, NY) who rebounded back from a rough start to the Olympic Games on Via Volo to fault at the third to last fence, a massive oxer.
“For sure it’s harder without saying,” said Madden. “And more technical. The water is more difficult and the double to the vertical is quite difficult… and the last three jumps are just plain old big.”
Anchor riders proved key to the result of today’s first round of the team Jumping competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park. And it is Saudi Arabia that holds the lead going into tomorrow’s second-round medal-decider carrying just a single time penalty, while Great Britain, The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland lie less than a fence behind in silver medal spot carrying four faults apiece.
With five faults on the board, Canada finished sixth and, with only the top eight teams going through to tomorrow’s second round, Brazil and USA clinched the last two available places when closing their day with eight faults.
But there were heads shaking in disbelief when Germany missed the cut along with France and Belgium, as not one of the riders from any of these top-level nations managed to keep a clean sheet today. The Germans are giants in this game, and even though they encountered selection problems in the lead-up to London when star-riders Carsten-Otto Nagel, Ludger Beerbaum and Marco Kutscher had issues with their horses, it had been expected that they would feature strongly.
Greenwich, UK – Rich Fellers (Sherwood, OR) and Flexible continued adding to their clear round tally today at the Olympic Games by securing the U.S. team’s position in the second round of the Nations Cup with an immaculate effort. Team USA’s score of eight faults means that they are tied with Brazil for equal seventh place. The top eight teams from today’s jumping go forward to tomorrow, led by the team from Saudi Arabia who are carrying one time fault forward to tomorrow.
Fellers and Harry and Mollie Chapman’s 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion entered the ring in the anchor position for team USA and were the only American combination to jump a clear round. Flexible was extraordinary, and Fellers rode him with so much confidence that that the veteran World Cup Champion thrived in Greenwich’s main arena.
“As a team I wish we were in little better position but we are all fighters; we can come from behind,” said Fellers.
The Canadian horse Victor, ridden by Tiffany Foster, has been disqualified under the FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol due to an area of clear and obvious hypersensitivity on the front of the left forelimb.
The Veterinary Commission stated that the horse had an area of inflammation and sensitivity on the left forelimb just above the hoof. There was no accusation of malpractice, but the horse was deemed unfit to compete by the Ground Jury and was disqualified from the Second Qualifier of the Jumping competition at the Olympic Games this morning.
A protest lodged by the Canadian chef d’equipe was heard by the FEI Appeal Committee before the end of the competition in order to facilitate the athlete taking part in the competition if the protest was successful. However, the protest was denied based on Annex XI of the FEI Veterinary Regulations, which state: “there is no appeal against the decision of the Ground Jury to disqualify a horse for abnormal sensitivity from an Event”. The FEI General Regulations also clearly state that there is no appeal against an elimination of a horse for veterinary reasons.
London (GBR), 4 August 2012 – The first Jumping competition of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park threw up some big surprises today. Olympic course designer Bob Ellis’ track was expected to be a relatively gentle introduction for the Jumping riders, but two of the biggest stars of the game were amongst four to be eliminated.
A total of four nations completed on a zero score, and Sweden was amongst them despite elimination for Lisen Fredricson at the troublesome double at fence three where she took a heavy fall when landing in the middle of the opening triple bar. The Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium also kept a clean sheet, while Brazil, France, Germany and the USA each collected just one time penalty to finish in equal-fifth ahead of Saudi Arabia, with three on the board, in ninth place.
Teams from 15 nations lined out, and the hosts from Great Britain slotted into equal-10th alongside Australia when a single error from Scott Brash had to be taken in account after Peter Charles also fell victim to the distance between the second and third fences. The Ukraine finished 12th, Canada 13th, Mexico 14th and Chile 15th. There were 32 clear rounds, eight horse-and-rider combinations picked up a single time fault and 11 completed the course with just one fence down. All teams go through to tomorrow’s first round of the team competition and the top 10 nations then qualify for Monday’s second round medal-decider.
Greenwich, UK – Clear rounds were the order of the day in the First Individual Qualifier for Jumping in the main arena at Greenwich Park. Of the 75 starters in the Olympic Show Jumping Competition, 32 jumped clear rounds. Of those, two belonged to American riders Rich Fellers and McLain Ward. Reed Kessler added just one time fault at her first Olympic Games meaning the USA heads to the Team Competition with a strong start. Team Competition begins Sunday, August 5.
Chef d’Equipe George Morris commandeered another solid effort out of his squad; he retires from this role at the end of the year.
Ward (Brewster, NY) proved he is back on form after shattering his kneecap in January. He rode Antares F to a textbook clear over Bob Ellis’ track to start the U.S.’s effort off right. The 12-year-old Baden Wurtenburger gelding, owned by Grant Road Partners, made light work of the track. Always stylish, the nearly white gelding remained beautifully rideable between the fences for Ward. Ward won Team Gold twice with the mighty Sapphire (at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games) jumping in the first spot on the team. He has no problem leading off the American effort.
Lausanne (SUI), 4 August 2012 – Andrew Nicholson (NZL) has taken over as world number one in the HSBC Rankings after the London 2012 Olympic Eventing competition in Greenwich Park.
Nicholson, captain of New Zealand’s bronze medal-winning team at London 2012, is now 46 points clear of William Fox-Pitt (GBR) who had led the HSBC Rankings since April. London 2012 is Andrew Nicholson’s sixth Olympic Games.
New Zealand’s Jonathan Paget (29), who began riding aged 18 and competed in his first CCI4* in 2010, has moved up to third in the HSBC Rankings, 21 points clear of fourth-placed Boyd Martin (USA).
Michael Jung (GER), who set a new record in equestrian sport at London 2012 by becoming the first-ever event rider to hold Olympic, European and World titles at the same time while celebrating his 30th birthday, is now in fifth place.