Tag Archives: Olympic Games

End of an Era as Olympic Champion Beerbaum Announces Retirement from German Team

Ludger Beerbaum. (Richard Juillart/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 18 August 2016 – “A legend in his own lifetime, a complete horseman and a man who is deeply involved in the development of the sport.” That was the description of Olympian Ludger Beerbaum given by FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, after the announcement of the German rider’s retirement from his national team.

Beerbaum, who turns 53 later this month, has long been the rock on which his country has depended at championships for almost 30 years.

He took his first Olympic team gold medal in Seoul (KOR) riding a horse called The Freak in 1988, and two more at Atlanta (USA) in 1996 with the great mare Ratina Z and with Goldfever at Sydney (AUS) in 2000. The individual gold he clinched with Classic Touch at Barcelona (ESP) in 1992 was particularly memorable, achieved after a scary moment in the earlier stages of the event when he had to perform a mid-competition flying dismount from his horse.

At his seventh Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (BRA), he added team bronze to his collection. Add in two gold, one silver and one bronze at world championships and six gold, three silver and two bronze from European championships, and the enormity of the achievement of this German flag-bearer and supreme athlete is evident.

Beerbaum always wanted to quit at the top, and he will make his final appearance in his red Team Germany jacket at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in Barcelona (ESP) next month. Emotions are likely to run high as he returns for the very last time to the scene of that glorious Olympic achievement at the very same venue, the Real Club de Polo, 24 years ago.

“It was a tough decision,” he said. But he’s not leaving the sport completely. “I’m working on a number of projects and I will focus on my stable at home, and on training and selling young horses.” In fact his enormous influence will continue to be felt in many ways, because his equestrian centre, Riesenback International which opened just last year, will host national tournaments, clinics and international seminars. It seems he will, in fact, remain right at the heart of the sport.

In addition to his work in Europe, as President of the Longines World Equestrian Academy. Beerbaum will also be a huge support to the development of the showjumping market across Asia.

“It’s great to know we will continue to have the benefit of Ludger’s tremendous experience in years to come,” John Roche added. “He will remain a highly influential figure.”

“I won’t get bored!” the phenomenally successful German athlete said. “I’m grateful that I was able to represent Germany as a rider. Now this is a job for my younger colleagues.”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Live from Rio with Will Connell: Transport Woes, Dressage PBs, and Jumping

Laura Graves and Diddy (Shannon Brinkman Photo).

By: Will Connell

8/16/2016 – Rio 2016 continue to mess up a perfectly functional transport system, U.S. Dressage rider hits another Personal Best, and the Jumping horses have started leaping.  All is good in Rio.

The transport (to be more precise the Drop Off/Pick Up) debacle would be comical if it wasn’t so disruptive to everything that we (and other Nations) have been doing for the last two weeks.  To then be told that it was our fault and that we, the Teams, were disobeying the rules was insulting and insane.  Anyway, it is one of many things that have to be approached with “positive intent”.  “Positive intent” has been the byword and mantra of the USOC leadership and the USOC have certainly led by example.  Well, my positive intent gauge is most certainly starting to show empty.  Please send a refueling tanker.

It was a shame that the stands were not full for the Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle (the Individual Final) as there was some fantastic dressage and great competition.  Another Personal Best for Laura Graves rounded off an outstanding Games for her.  4th is just the worst position to finish in; so close to yet so far from, the podium.  But Laura can look back on the Games with immense pride as can all of the U.S. Dressage Team and their support staff.  U.S. Dressage is back at the Top Table.

I have not made mention of the British for obvious reasons but Charlotte Dujardin was supreme again.  However, I am compelled to make mention of Carl Hester who coached every member of the GBR Dressage Team here in Rio and of course medaled himself – some achievement.  Time for him to go down on one knee at the Palace.

The dressage team head home leaving behind them one casualty.  A belt.  A belt that could not handle the Olympic pressure and gave way as one of the dressage athletes was giving 101% during the Grand Prix to bring home a Medal.  It will be, like my trousers (a.k.a. pants), buried with full State honours.

A little break for some cat herding.  Sedan 1 and Ana Car 1 to restaurant with 4 Dressage grooms + 1 x Vet, 1 x Physio and 1 x Farrier to eat and then head back to venue to load horses:  Van 1 loaded with 9 Jumping crew to same restaurant and back to hotel:  Van 2 picking up three at Gas Station (alternate pick up point recently instigated due to Rio 2016 Transport Madness Disease) to head to aforementioned restaurant:  Van 3 loaded to the rafters with Dressage athlete luggage…  athletes enjoying wine.  Departure of athletes imminent.  Or did I get some athletes mixed up?  And people wonder why I drink.

The jumping competitions are a little drawn out at an Olympics but we are now well in to the meat of the matter.  The first round of the Nations Cup (Team Competition) took place today and we are exactly where we want to be – on 0 penalties going in to the second and final round tomorrow.  Rather annoying that there are three other Nations on 0 but I guess that is good for the crowds, if a little nerve-racking for us.  There were plenty of highs and lows today; there will be some celebrating tonight and some commiserating.  This has not been an easy Games to enjoy, but it most certainly is an Olympic Games.  What is it about the Games that creates such passion and emotion or drive and determination amongst athletes that are competing against each other on many occasions throughout the year?  It is a very special environment and watching the athletes’ drive to win, the euphoria of medaling and the despair of losing is something that still excites and intrigues me:  Unlike dealing with Transport dumbdelardies, which just infuriates me.

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© Copyright 2016 United States Equestrian Federation

US Wins Team Silver in Show Jumping at Rio Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team won the Silver medal in a down-to-the-wire competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Wednesday. The team of Lucy Davis and Barron, Kent Farrington and Voyeur, Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’, and McLain Ward and Azur finished the two-round competition with five faults. France won the Gold with three faults, while Germany and Canada tied for third on eight. Ultimately, Germany captured Bronze following a jump-off with Canada for the medal.

A total of 44 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 19 countries, eight of which remained in the hunt for team medals, competed at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in the final round of the team competition, which also served as the third and final qualifier for Friday’s individual final.

The U.S. started the day with only three riders, as Madden and Cortes ‘C’, a 14-year-old Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner, withdrew from Wednesday’s competition after sustaining a tendon injury on Tuesday. That added pressure for each of the U.S.’s three remaining riders, as the team would not have the luxury of a drop score as each team’s three best scores counted.

Guilherme Jorge designed a course worthy of an Olympic final; it demanded expert riding, power, and speed. Riders faced a 1.60m wall as an introduction to the 13-jump course that had a time-allowed of 82 seconds. Jorge’s impressive course quickly separated the teams with only 15 riders able to finish within the time and only five going clear.

“The course was tremendous, a real Olympic championship course,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We knew that when we walked it; all the riders did. We were pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be won on zero [faults]. All our scores had to count today; we knew that. It didn’t affect any of them. They were all unbelievable. Unbelievably focused, they knew what their job was and they got it done. It was tremendous.”

Setting the tone for the U.S. once again was Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Voyeur. For the third straight round this week, they dominated the course, clearing each jump with ease. Although the duo succeeded in leaving all the rails in the cups, they exceeded the time allowed, adding one fault to their overall score, their only fault to date in their Olympic debut.

“My horse jumped fantastic today,” said Farrington after his round. “I saw a lot of horses struggling to jump the triple combination clear so I really set him up for that. Every rail was going to matter today, so I wanted to secure that before I took a bigger risk on the time. The course was a lot bigger than the other day and a lot more difficult. We’re going in one round at a time and trying our best to jump clear.”

Lucy Davis and Barron (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Lucy Davis and Barron (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

The second U.S. rider to enter the ring was Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) with Old Oaks Farm’s Barron, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Davis and Barron showed brilliance in the first half of the course, clearing each jump and making good time around the large arena. The triple combination came late on course at fence 11, where Davis and Barron tapped the top rail out of the cups at 11b, resulting in four faults.

“I was pleased with the round, although not thrilled because I would have liked to have gone clear, but he jumped amazing all three days,” said Davis. “I wasn’t really expecting that rail because he was jumping so confident and smooth. I came around the turn and saw my distance, and I don’t know if he saw something or what. I am just happy that we could get through it and stay within the time. That was really key because I thought it was going to be really close, so hopefully I helped the team in that way.”

Just before Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) entered the ring with Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, Roger Yves Bost clinched the Gold for France. With Germany and Brazil both in a position to keep the U.S. off the podium, Ward knew that he needed a fault-free round to keep the team’s medal hopes alive. The two-time Olympic Team Gold medalist attacked the course in true Olympic fashion – calm, confident, and with speed. Azur was sure not to touch a single rail and the duo came home clean and within the time, putting the U.S. in position for the Silver medal, the third team medal for the U.S. in the past four Olympic Games.

“It takes the wind out of your sail a little bit when you are focused on winning,” said Ward of France securing the Gold prior to his ride. “But you have to gather yourself. We’ve had a rough 24 hours losing Cortes. Beezie has been our anchor for the better part of a decade. Her record of coming through in the clutch is second-to-none. It’s a little unsettling when you lose her, but it was great team performance. I thought Kent was brilliant and Lucy, just like at the World Equestrian Games, was the utmost professional and she really delivered a great round. They allowed me to be in a position where I could do the job I was supposed to do.”

“The horse felt like she was jumping incredibly. I think I am sitting on a bit of a better horse than everybody else, so that makes my life a little easier. I really thought she jumped as good as ever, if not better than the rest of the week. It was a round I’m proud of and I’m proud of this team.”

Summing things up for the U.S. team, Farrington said, “Just to be on this team, to be in my first Olympics and win a medal is a fantastic feeling. There’s no greater honor than representing your country, and to walk away with a Silver medal is a great finish.”

Action concludes Friday with the two-round individual final where the top 45 riders from the three qualifying rounds will start fresh on zero faults. The U.S. will be represented by Farrington, Davis, and Ward.

NBCOlympics.com Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Fighting French Fly to Victory in Olympic Team Jumping Final

Roger Yves Bost, Penelope Leprevost, Kevin Staut and Philippe Rozier. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 17 August 2016 – France claimed Team Jumping gold for only the second time in the history of the Olympic Games with a brilliant performance at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA). Lying only a single penalty point behind the joint-leaders from Brazil, Germany, Netherlands and USA after Tuesday’s first round of competition, they added just two time faults to clinch it.

Silver went to Team USA who completed with five faults while Germany won out in a thrilling two-way jump-off against Canada for the bronze. This is only the second French team gold in the history of Olympic Jumping, the first won at Montreal (CAN) in 1976 where the side included Jean-Marcel Rozier whose son, Philippe, was French pathfinder. “My father was here in Rio, and we are all feeling very proud to have another gold medal in our family!” Philippe said.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the French who have endured a series of setbacks. “We had bad luck at the beginning of the week with Simon’s horse and then Penelope,” said Kevin Staut, referring to the withdrawal of Simon Delestre’s horse, Ryan, who was injured and then a night in the veterinary clinic for Penelope Leprevost’s mare Flora de Mariposa before the pair took a fall in Sunday’s first qualifier. Flora jumped brilliantly in Tuesday’s first round of the team event, but such was the strength of the French effort that she didn’t have to compete at all as Roger-Yves Bost (Sydney Une Prince) joined Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise) and Rozier (Rahotep de Toscane) to seal it with three great rounds.

Sharing

There were four teams sharing a zero score as the day began, but only Germany fielded a full four-rider side, as the elimination of Jur Vrieling (Zirocco Blue) hit the Dutch hard Tuesday and the disqualification of Stephen de Freitas Barcha (Landpeter do Feroleto) left the Brazilians looking vulnerable. Then it was announced that Beezie Madden’s Cortes C was withdrawn from the US team after picking up an injury.

On a day filled with time faults, Rozier collected just one in an otherwise copybook pathfinding run for France but it was Staut’s clear when next to go that suddenly placed his country in real contention. And when Bost followed that with one of his edge-of-the-seat rides to come home with just one time fault on the board the destination of team gold was already being celebrated by the French fans. Bost insisted he had no idea the pressure he was under when going into the ring as last French rider. “I wasn’t sure what the score was. I just went in to do my job and the medal just came to me!” he said afterwards, and Staut joked in reply, “When Bosty is warming up, nobody is speaking to him!”

The Americans also kicked off with just a time fault from Kent Farrington and Voyeur but Lucy Davis and Barron left the middle of the influential triple combination, three from home, on the floor so although McLain Ward followed through with a spectacular clear from Azur their fate was sealed on a five-fault total which was plenty good enough for silver spot.

The Dutch kicked off with a mistake from Jeroen Dubbeldam at the second fence along with a time fault and although Maikel van der Vleuten and Verdi only fell afoul of the clock, three fences down for Harrie Smolders and Emerald saw them disappear from the reckoning. Brazilian dreams dissipated when Eduardo Menezes (Quintol), Doda de Miranda (Cornetto K) and Pedro Veniss (Quabri de L’Isle) all faulted just once, but in the meantime, there was another drama beginning to unfold.

Pressure

Germany wrapped up their score on eight, thanks to a classic bit of riding from anchorman Ludger Beerbaum who came home inside the time with Casello under the most intense pressure. That meant the five faults collected by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Fibonacci) could be dropped leaving just the single errors from Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z) and Daniel Deusser (First Class) to be added together. And that eight-fault total left them on level pegging with the Canadians who added just four to their first-day result thanks to brilliant clears from Tiffany Foster (Tripple X) and Eric Lamaze (Fine Lady). Canadian opener, Yann Candele (First Choice), hit only the last and they could discount the 12 picked up by Amy Millar (Heros).

The Canadians were first to go in the two-way showdown for bronze, but it was three German clears, from Ahlmann, Michaels-Beerbaum and Deusser, that clinched it. “We always knew there was a high possibility of a jump-off,” said Michaels-Beerbaum. “We all fought very hard for this medal today and we are very grateful to have it.”

Back in the winner’s enclosure, Kevin Staut reflected on how his team managed to turn it around in a week when nothing seemed to be going their way. “Maybe the problems helped to make us fight more and more,” he said. And how it feels to be crowned Olympic team champion? “Really proud – to be French, to be a rider and to be a gold medallist!”

Result here

Quotes:

Ben Maher (GBR): “I think we (Team Great Britain) have been progressing over the past three rounds, which is not really what you want to do in the Olympic Games. You probably want to set out as you mean to go on. But Tic Tac felt amazing today. We’ve had a tough week for the team with silly mistakes, but I and Nick (Skelton) are out for ourselves now. And we are going to try and redeem ourselves.”

Luciana Diniz (POR): “Honestly, I am really happy because my goal today was to qualify for the final. And I am in. So… look, I have goosebumps.”

Talking about her mare Fit for Fun: “The first thing I do is I say ‘thank you’ to her. And she gets a lot of bananas. She is like a monkey; she loves bananas. So that is my way of rewarding her.”

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER, talking about hitting the very last fence on the course: “Nacho (Fibonacci) jumped super. Maybe I felt like it was over already. I was surprised to see it fall. That was a rider’s mistake. I can’t blame the horse.”

Kent Farrington USA: “I’m thrilled to be here on the team at my first Olympic Games and to win a medal. There is no prouder feeling than representing your country and the silver medal is a great achievement.”

Guilherme Jorge BRA, course designer: “The course was difficult yesterday and today we had four teams on zero, so I stepped up the degree of difficulty and played with the time allowed. We had a good result with a number of clears and it shows how high the level of the riders and horses were today. To design an Olympic course in my home country – it doesn’t get better than this!”

Ludger Beerbaum GER, on the pressure of being the last to ride for Germany: “You know, when you go in the ring you cannot have all of these thoughts and questions. There was no tactic – I could not have a fault and I should not have one down. But knowing this is not a guarantee that it will happen. So if you start thinking about ‘What if, when, why’… you mess everything up. You should not think such thoughts. Try to stay focused and do your job. You cannot help it if it does not work.”

On the emotion of the day: “It was the same rollercoaster for the United States and France and Brazil and Canada. So we have not been in a different position. Everybody was hoping to go clear and do their best and be on the podium.”

McLain Ward USA, on losing Beezie Madden from the team: “We did not really have an option. Beezie has been our anchor for the better part of a decade and her record of coming through for us is second to none. But we thought we had a strong team, strong horses. And we thought the course was brilliant today – it was real Olympic calibre team jumping. So we are very proud.”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Rivetti and Barcha Disqualified from Combined Jumping Individual 2nd Qualifier

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 16 August 2016 – Two horse/rider combinations were disqualified from Tuesday’s combined Jumping Individual 2nd Qualifier and Jumping Team Round 1 after blood was found on the horses’ flanks.

Cassio Rivetti (UKR), with Fine Fleur du Marais, and Stephan De Freitas Barcha (BRA), riding Landpeter Do Feroleto, will not be eligible to participate in the second round of the competition Wednesday, the Jumping Individual 3rd Qualifier and Team Round 2 (Team Final).

Stephan Ellenbruch, President of the Rio 2016 Equestrian Olympic Ground Jury, stated: “Horse Welfare is the most important element of equestrian sport. Disqualification under this rule does not imply that there was intent to injure the horse, but it is essential that the rules are enforced in order to ensure that horse welfare ‎is protected.”

*Please see FEI rule below:

Article 242.3.1 Horses bleeding on the flank(s), in the mouth or nose or marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse (in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the Athlete to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in Disqualification.)

“Stephan used the spurs during the competition to encourage the horse but unfortunately broke the skin, resulting in mandatory disqualification, which is clearly set out in the rules of our sport,” Brazilian team Veterinarian Rogério Saito said.

The Brazilian team filed a protest to the Ground Jury against Stephan de Freitas Barcha’s disqualification. The Ground Jury issued their decision confirming the disqualification. An appeal against the decision of the Ground Jury was subsequently lodged with the Appeals Committee, which also confirmed the disqualification.

FEI Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

US Olympic Show Jumping Team Withdraws Beezie Madden

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team has withdrawn Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ from competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Cortes ‘C’ sustained an injury during Round One of the Team competition on Tuesday and in the best interest of the horse’s welfare, the decision has been made to withdraw Cortes ‘C’.

The U.S. will head into Wednesday’s team final in a four-way tie for first. As a three-member team, the U.S. will not have a drop-score to utilize in Round Two.

Beezie and John Madden made the following statement:

“We are heartbroken to announce that Cortes ‘C’ sustained a tendon injury in yesterday’s competition and will be unable to compete for Team USA today. We are confident that he will make a full recovery. While we had hoped to do everything we could to help the USA towards a medal today, Tiny’s [Cortes ‘C’] best interests must come first. We are so thankful to our teammates, sponsors, and most importantly, his owner, Abigail Wexner, for understanding that in this sport, sometimes winning means doing right by your best friend. We will be there today on the sidelines doing everything we can to support Kent, Lucy, and McLain.”

From the USEF Communications Department

US Tied for First after Round One of Team Show Jumping Competition at Rio Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The equestrian venue at Deodoro Olympic Park was filled with excitement Tuesday for the second day of show jumping at the 2016 Olympic Games. A total of 69 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 24 countries, including 15 teams, competed in the first half of the two-round team competition, which also served as the second qualifier for the individual finals. The U.S. team produced three clear rounds which put them in a four-way tie for first place with The Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil, each with zero faults. France is hot on their heels with one fault, followed by Canada with four.

Guilherme Jorge’s course was less technical than what he had set for Sunday’s first individual qualifier. He included added dimensions with long approaches to the fences for a time allowed of 81 seconds that proved to be a challenge for some riders. Power, speed, and accuracy proved to be the winning formula to complete Jorge’s second course clear.

The trailblazer for the U.S. was Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Voyeur. Repeating their foot-perfect performance from Sunday, this dynamic duo produced the second clear round of the day to get the U.S. off to a great start.

“I wouldn’t say it’s massive in size yet, but I am sure that’s to come,” Farrington said of the round one course. “I think tomorrow will be significantly bigger. It’s exactly what you would expect at a championship level. The time allowed is quite short, which I think is going to be a factor either through time faults or rails down because of people worrying about the time. Obviously, I am thrilled with my horse. It was a great start for Team USA.”

The second rider for the U.S. was Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.), piloting Old Oaks Farm’s Barron, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Davis and Barron were poised and ready, matching Farrington’s performance with a second clean round for the U.S. team.

“I’m very relieved now that it’s over. After yesterday’s rail I hoped that it would set me up well for today and it definitely did,” Davis said. “He was incredibly sharp and with me. I was maybe a little more tense than usual. I really wanted this for the team. I think tomorrow I will be a bit more relaxed after seeing how well he handled this day and how confident everyone on the team is. It’s nice in my position. I can really count on them [my teammates]. I am pretty lucky, especially for the Olympics, to be on a mount like Barron. He makes it easy.”

Riding with his trademark textbook style, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) with Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, cruised around the ring and turned in the third fault-free performance for the U.S.

“Once I jumped through the triple I kind of settled in,” said Ward. “I knew the team was in a good position. Obviously, we needed to be clear today to be in a good position for tomorrow. We are a good team. So far we didn’t lose it. I think tomorrow will go up another level.”

Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Riding anchor for the U.S. team, Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) entered the ring on Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ knowing that the U.S. had three clear rounds they would not need her score. Still needing a score for the individual competition, Madden and the 14-year-old Belgium Warmblood gelding experienced an unfortunate rub at fence three and a misplaced foot at the water jump to accumulate eight penalties.

“It was a short seven up the first line, and maybe I was a little casual about the back rail, and then he clipped that,” Madden said. “The water has been riding difficult all day. I just didn’t quite get across. I think he actually finished better than he started in the course, so hopefully tomorrow we’re in good shape.”

Madden and Cortes ‘C’ will continue Wednesday in the team competition; however, with a total of 12 faults after two days of competition, they will not move forward to Friday’s individual final.

Action continues Wednesday as the top eight teams from round one return for the final round of the team competition. Riders who qualify will advance to the two-round individual final on Friday.

NBCOlympics.com Team Final Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

It’s Tight at the Top after First Round of Olympic Team Jumping

Lucy Davis and Barron. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 16 August 2016 – Brazil, Germany, The Netherlands and USA all tied for the lead on a zero score after the first round of Team Jumping at Deodoro Olympic Park, with France trailing by just a single time fault going into Wednesday’s second-round medal decider.

Canada lies sixth on a four-fault tally, and the top-eight qualifying group is completed by Sweden and Switzerland, each carrying eight faults. A total of 15 nations competed in the first round, and amongst the seven teams that did not make the cut were the defending Olympic champions from Great Britain.

Once again the open water proved the bogey fence on the Guilherme Jorge’s course, and London 2012 team gold medallist Nick Skelton was penalised here with Big Star in an otherwise copybook tour of the new track. And when his team-mates Ben Maher (Tic Tac) and Michael Whitaker (Cassionato) posted five-fault results when leaving a fence on the floor and also exceeding the 81 seconds time-allowed, and then John Whitaker had a nightmare round for an uncharacteristic 23 faults with the mare Ornellaia, it was all over for the British contingent.

Spectrum

On the other end of the spectrum the Americans, Dutch and Germans all posted three clears in a row. Kent Farrington (Voyeur) and Lucy Davis (Barron) are both Olympic first-timers, and when their colleague and double Olympic team gold medallist McLain Ward also kept a clean sheet with Azur the Americans were done and dusted. Farrington wasn’t getting too carried away, however. “Quite clearly our hopes are to be in contention for the top, but you never know what to expect – we take it one round at a time,” he said wisely.

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and her fabulous grey, Fibonacci, were only called up from the reserve bench at the last minute but are showing they are perfectly entitled to their spot in the German side when posting another spectacular clear along with Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z) and Daniel Deusser (First Class). And world and European double-champion, The Netherlands’ Jeroen Dubbeldam (Zenith) who took individual gold at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, was backed up by great performances from both Maikel van der Vleuten (Verdi) and Harrie Smolders (Emerald).

Pulled it back

Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes (Quintol) kicked off with a great clear before Stephan de Freitas Barcha (Landpeter do Feroleto) racked up eight faults, but then Doda de Miranda pulled it back for the host team with a brilliant run with Cornetto K. As Pedro Veniss set off, however, he had the entire population of Brazil sitting at the back of his saddle, but his 12-year-old stallion Quabri d’Elle didn’t let him down. “I spoke a lot with Rodrigo (Pessoa) and he told me to relax and concentrate,” Veniss said. And clearly the Brazilians have a podium placing in their sights. “I was here in 2007 when we won the Pan-American gold medal. We are really focused on doing the same tomorrow,” he pointed out. However, they will only have a three-man side when the action resumes in the morning, as Barcha has been disqualified along with Ukraine’s Cassio Rivetti for a rule infringement.

Hot pursuit

The French are in hot pursuit despite a difficult start to the Games. “Since we arrived here in Rio we had the injury to Ryan (the horse of Simon Delestre who was withdrawn) and then the small problem during the night, five days ago, with Flora (Penelope Leprevost’s mare Flora de Mariposa). And then Penelope had a fall (in the opening competition on Sunday).  But maybe it helps us to fight more!” said team member Kevin Staut.

A total of 49 horse-and-rider combinations go through to Wednesday, including defending individual Olympic champion and Swiss team member Steve Guerdat who had a double error with Nino des Buissonnets.  “I rode energetically to the water jump because there were a lot of mistakes there and perhaps I over-motivated him and it led to the mistake at the next fence. But tomorrow is another day and a new course, and anything can happen,” he said.

Result here

Quotes:

Pedro Veniss BRA: “It’s a pleasure to work with George (Morris, Brazilian team coach). He told me he’s been to 15 Olympic Games so that’s some experience! He’s helping us a lot.”

Eric Lamaze CAN: “I was told I had to go clear. My mare is in fantastic form; she didn’t feel like a horse that was going to make a lazy mistake.”

Maikel van der Vleuten NED: “I’m riding this horse for ten or eleven years and we’ve had him since he was four. I knew when I sat on him the first time that he was something special. You dream your horse is going to do this stuff but you don’t know how it’s going to develop over time. He’s a great horse; the closer he gets to the ring the more he likes it”!

Peder Fredricson SWE: “I did my first Olympic Games in 1992 in Barcelona as a three-day eventer! We bought All In as a seven-year-old from Ludo Philippaerts and he was already a good horse then; he went well for Nicola (Philippaerts) and the owner decided to buy the horse for me. He’s a really small horse, but when I took my first jump on him I knew this was a horse I would like. He used to be really hot but he has calmed down now. He has changed character a lot.”

Kent Farrington USA: “It is never easy to be the lead-off rider. But it helps the others to put in a clear round. That was my duty. Mission accomplished. I have Voyeur for four years and I know him well. When I walked the course today I knew it would suit him.”

Kevin Staut FRA: “London was the first Olympics for all of us and we could not imagine the atmosphere, and how it is different from other championships. So, I think it was a really bad experience, but a really good one to get us ready for Rio. This time we arrived for the opening ceremonies and we have been here for 10 days. It is hard to be away from our stables for a long time, but it was our choice to be really in the Olympic spirit. We know we have to fight ten times harder than for another show. Each day is a new day and we have to do something to qualify for the next day. It is hard, but this time we know how it is. In London, we were children!”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Laura Graves Leads US in Dressage Individual Final at 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Excitement filled the air as the final day of dressage got underway at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center on Monday. The top 18 competitors from eight nations competed in the Grand Prix Freestyle, the deciding competition for the Individual medals. Only three athletes from each nation were eligible to compete. After winning the Bronze medal with teammate Kasey Perry-Glass on Friday, Steffen Peters, Alison Brock, and Laura Graves entered the sun-filled stadium to perform the Freestyle set to personally-chosen music. All three had fantastic performances, with Graves coming in again as the highest-placed U.S. rider and finishing just outside the medals in fourth place.

The pressure was on for Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding. The combination was competing in its first Olympic Games, and turned in personal bests in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special, leading the U.S. to the Team Bronze medal. The pair was the penultimate combination to go in the Freestyle and produced a breath-taking performance to earn 85.196%, which put them in third place with Germany’s Isabell Werth left to go. Although Werth’s ride on Weihegold Old dropped Graves to fourth, it was a fabulous finish.

The pair executed many high-risk movements throughout the test, including two-tempi canter flying changes on a half-circle leading into one-tempi changes, which earned multiple 9s from the jury, as did their double canter pirouettes, harmony, degree of difficulty, and music.

“I’m thrilled with the score,” said a beaming Graves, who earned three personal-best scores while competing in Rio. “Because Verdades is really honest, the degree of difficulty is something that I can play with and so you have to highlight those moments. We did them twice, showing that it’s not just luck, and the judges obviously rewarded us for it today.”

In regards to how Verdades felt in the arena, Graves commented, “I don’t feel like I had quite as much horse as I’ve had over the past couple days. It’s very hot and we’ve been here just over two weeks, so it’s been a long time for us to keep our horses going like this, but he was ready. He stayed really honest, and I couldn’t have asked for more.”

“I’m just so happy,” continued Graves. “I believe in a system, following a routine, and finding a trainer you trust and staying with them. I’m so blessed that both Robert [Dover] and my personal trainer, Debbie McDonald, have sacrificed so much of their time this summer to be over in Europe with the Team and it really has made a difference.”

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Peters (San Diego, Calif.), competing in his fourth Olympic Games, and Legolas 92, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Four Winds Farm, were the first combination into the arena Monday morning. The pair set the bar high from the start. Opening with the well-known song “Under Pressure”, the pair’s well-executed and harmonious test captured the audience and seven judges’ attention. The jury gave the pair several 9s for their music, choreography, and degree of difficulty, and Peters earned a final score a 79.393% for a 12th-place finish.

“I’m super happy, and it’s super exciting!” said Peters with a grin from ear-to-ear. “I added a few extra degrees of difficulty to the test today. The double pirouette before the canter-piaffe transition is a new one, and I hadn’t done the piaffe-pirouette on center line in a while. I knew if I’d be slightly ahead of the music I would do a double pirouette after the extended canter. Since he did all the other piaffes very well, I thought we’d take a risk and see if he turns with the music and especially in the piaffe-pirouette to the left. He was dead-on with the music, and even there I already had a big smile on my face, and today was 99% less pressure than the previous days, so honestly I had a blast in there – I just loved it.”

“I hadn’t been first into the ring for years, so it was my time!” added Peters with a laugh. “I was hoping for a score of around 80% and the judges agreed with me, so I’m super happy! Legolas just had a fantastic three days at the Olympic Games. I wish I could put into words how much winning the [Team] Bronze medal means to me and also how much it means to me how well Legolas did here.”

Third into the arena was Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and the 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion Rosevelt, owned by Claudine and Fritz Kundrun. They performed a lovely Freestyle to score 76.160% for 15th place in their first Olympic Games.

“I’m really happy with my test and Rosevelt was very good, bless his heart,” said Brock. “I just love that music – I think it really suits him very well. It’s a really beautiful compilation of music from a group called Tanghetto. The canter music is from ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’. It’s the type of music that doesn’t overwhelm the audience and it draws you into the horse. I’m really happy.”

Graves summed up all the U.S. riders’ feelings at the end, saying, “This has been an incredible experience to be here with this Team, and we have such a huge family of supporters who came this far just to be with us all. We sometimes forget that it’s more than just us and the horse. We have so many people around us who make this happen and to watch what they sacrifice for our dreams is something that is very emotional for everyone.”

Defending Olympic Champions Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and her mount Valegro, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, who are also World and European Champions, claimed their second consecutive Olympic Individual Gold medal, topping the field with an impressive score of 93.857%. Germany’s Isabell Werth and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare Weihegold Old, claimed the Individual Silver with a score of 89.071%, making Werth the most decorated Olympic equestrian of all time with a record 10 Olympic medals (six Gold and four Silver). Teammate Kristina Broring-Sprehe and the 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion Desperados FRH took the Individual Bronze medal with a score of 87.142%.

Show jumping returns to action on Tuesday with the first half of the two-round team competition, beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET. Watch live on NBCOlympics.com.

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Dujardin and Her Horse with a Heart of Gold Do It Again

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 15 August 2016 – Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin (31) and the fabulous 14-year-old gelding, Valegro, were in a class of their own when posting an Olympic Dressage record score of 93.857 in the Grand Prix Freestyle to claim their second successive individual title. The double-gold medallist at London 2012 is the first British woman to retain an individual Olympic title, and she now matches the British record of three gold medals for a female athlete set by cyclist Laura Trott Sunday.

On an afternoon of high emotion in Deodoro Olympic Park, it was two members of Friday’s gold-medal-winning German team who took silver and bronze, the multi-medalled Isabell Werth (47) and Weihegold scoring 89.071 to finish ahead of world no. 1 Kristina Broring-Sprehe (29) and Desperados on a mark of 87.142.

Emotions

Dujardin could hardly contain her emotions after securing the victory. “He couldn’t have done any more,” she said of the much-loved horse who is known at home as Blueberry. “I was thinking this could be the last time,” she added before bursting into tears. The British partnership hold all the world records in their sport, and the result was just short of the Freestyle record of 94.30 per cent they set at Olympia Horse Show in London (GBR) in 2014.

The scores really began to soar as the final six combinations took their turn, and IOC President, Thomas Bach, arrived just in time to see Broring-Sprehe set the new standard before Dujardin and Valegro blew that away when rocketing into the lead by a margin of more than six points. America’s Laura Graves produced the performance of her career with Verdades to finish just off the podium on 85.196, her third personal-best result posted at these Games.

Record books

Werth already entered the record books when her team gold on Friday gave her the edge over the previously most-medalled German Olympic equestrian, Dr Reiner Klimke. Monday’s silver brings her tally to a massive 10 Olympic medals during an extraordinary career but, last to go, she was realistic in her expectations. “I knew Charlotte had 93 or 94 per cent, and Germany already won team gold, so with silver today I couldn’t ask for more. I really enjoy competing against the best; that’s what makes us all better, and Charlotte and Valegro really deserve this,” she said.

Dujardin talked about her own expectations. “We set the world record at 94 so I knew it was possible, but to come and do it again here at the Olympics is quite special. Today was magic; in London there was no pressure to take gold but today I was nervous because I felt the expectation to deliver. But trotting around the arena before the start, Blueberry felt so good it just put a smile on my face and I just knew it was going to be okay. I felt he knew what I was thinking in there and he looked after me; he did his very best. I have a partnership, a connection with this horse that nothing is going to break; he has a heart of gold,” she said.

Lit up

The pair has lit up the sport since coming together in 2011. “To think what he has achieved in the last four or five years, it seems almost impossible,” the British rider said, admitting that retirement is “on the cards” for Valegro now. “We’ll discuss it when we get home, and he definitely won’t be doing another Olympic Games or a big championship. I owe it to him to finish at the top,” she pointed out.

As for her own plans, marriage is at last on the horizon. Her partner, Dean Wyatt Golding, proposed to her during the London 2012 Games “and I said yes,” she explained. “Bless him, he’s been waiting a long time; we’ve been together nine years but it’s definitely going to happen now!” Somehow it seems very likely that a horse with three Olympic gold medals around his neck could be a prominent member of the wedding party.

Result here https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-dressage-individual-grand-prix-freestyle

Quotes:

Patrick Kittel SWE: “I only heard a couple of days ago that I couldn’t use my Stevie Wonder music. We asked a long time ago about using it for the Olympic Games and we only heard back at the very last minute so this music is an old one and Deja isn’t used to it and I think she felt lost in it, and I did too! I’m happy overall; this is an amazing horse; she needs more experience competing over three days but she’s going to be great!”

Carl Hester GBR: “I felt the mark matched my test; sometimes you go in there and think you should have gotten more, but not today. We got five more marks than Friday and he was so much more relaxed. He was so quiet I could just let him walk for the last five minutes before we came in.”

Charlotte Dujardin GBR: “I’ve only ridden that floorplan once, at Hartpury, and we’ve changed it a few times since. There were things I hadn’t even tried before today and that’s why he is so magical!”

Laura Graves USA: “I’m thrilled with this score. I didn’t feel like I had quite as much horse as I had in the last couple of days; it’s obviously very hot; we’ve been here now for a day over two weeks, so it’s been a long time to keep our horses going like this.

“It was another personal best for me, by three percent or something like that, so that’s three personal bests at the Olympic Games!”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38