For a team of rookies, the French riders put on an Eventing clinic the last few days in Rio – usurping veteran riders to land on the top podium.
The final day of Eventing competition in Rio saw both thrills and heartbreak as the stadium phase often does. The Guillerme Jorge-designed course was on a sprawling track, with many rollbacks and few related distances aside from a triple and double combination. Rails fell throughout, frequently in the triple combination, but a tight time allowed of 80 seconds was perhaps the biggest obstacle.
Astier Nicolas proved his mettle as a clutch rider, executing a faultless stadium round that would propel Team France to Olympic gold thanks to unfortunate rails by New Zealand’s Mark Todd and Australia’s Christopher Burton. French rider Thibaut Vallette was also clear with Qing du Briot.
Germany snuck its way from 4th place to a silver medal thanks to a combination of flawless riding – each of the three remaining team members were clear and within the time allowed – and unfortunate rails by the competition.
Australia dropped from Gold to Bronze thanks to 17 faults by Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio, and another 2 rails from Christopher Burton and Santano II. Shane Rose’s cross country elimination meant the team had no drop score remaining and the combined 25 faults proved costly. Burton fell from the individual top spot, meaning defending champion Michael Jung leads the pack going into the final stadium round that will determine individual medals.
Final team standings