It was an absolute thriller in Rio today where team medals were decided in dramatic fashion as France and the USA nailed down gold and silver, and Canada and Germany jumped-off for the Bronze.
Giulherme Jorge’s track was big and tough, with maxed-out fences – both in height and width – making up the bulk of the course. A tight time allowed of 82 seconds over the sprawling track proved difficult as well, with just 15 of the 46 riders coming in under time, and only 5 of those also having clear jumping for a total of 0 faults.
Coming into today’s round, four teams including Brazil, Netherlands, USA, and Germany had 0 faults. Overnight events, including the withdrawal of Beezie Madden’s Cortes ‘C’, disqualification of Brazil’s Barcha due to violation of the “Blood Rule” (in this case overuse of spurs), and Jur Vreiling’s withdrawal from competition, meant only Germany had a drop score today - the remaining teams with just 3 riders.
France, who came into the day with a single time penalty, sitting closely in 5th, was so dominant their 4th rider, Penelope Leprevost, didn’t even have to compete. Phillipe Rozier was clear with just 1 time fault, Kevin Staut was a perfect 0, and Roger Yves “Bosty” Bost, picked up just 1 time fault to seal the gold. The win was quite a feat considering their week began with the withdrawal of world no.2, Simon Delestre, and a shocking fall by Penelope Leprevost on day 1 of competition (which has eliminated her from contention individually).
The U.S. also put on an impressive performance, with Kent Farrington and Voyeur leading the way early on with 1 time fault. Lucy Davis was speedy and under the time but had an unfortunate rail at 11b – a bogey fence for many. McLain Ward and Azur had the burden on their backs as they entered the ring and, in typical Ward fashion, he rose to the occasion, his acrobatic mare Azur jumping brilliantly to pick up no faults and secure the silver.
Canada and Germany entered into a battle for bronze in what turned out to be an exciting jump-off. Canada’s Yann Candele led things off with 4 faults and a time of 44.24 seconds. Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z answered with 0 faults and a deceptively fast time of 42.68 – what turned out to be the fastest of the day.
The remaining German riders, Meredith Michael’s Beerbaum and Daniel Deusser jumped clear and fast, while Canada’s Tiffany Foster was clear but Amy Millar had a rail which put the country out of contention for the bronze.
Be sure to watch Friday as the individual medals are decided!
Final team standings:
1.France – 3 penalties
2.USA – 5 penalties
3.Germany – 8 penalties
4.Canada – 8 penalties
5.Brazil – 13 penalties
6.Switzerland – 15 penalties
Update by Ashley Fairfield-Remeza