Turn up the pressure in the competition and watch the clear show jumping rounds multiply for the 2008 US Olympic show jumping team. After two rounds and a jump off, the US team claimed gold in Hong Kong today. Canada took silver and Norway the bronze.
The US riders, McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Laura Kraut, and Will Simpson were tied with Switzerland after show jumping Round 1 yesterday. Laura Kraut and Cedric anchored the team today with clear rounds in both Round 2 and the jump off, showing their athleticism, heart, and ability to rise the occassion. They just got better and better every round. McLain Ward, who has been leading the individual standings, had his only four faults so far in the competition with one foot in the water. He and Sapphire truly rose to the occassion in the jump off. They had the first spot, and went for it taking all of the risky tight turns and jumping higher than ever. You could see the level of determination in McLain carrying over to his horse as they went clean. Will Simpson and Carlsson Vom Dach, who tucks his knees as high as his chin in the air, had an unfortunate 8 faults in Round 2 (lowest score was dropped anyway), and went clean in the jump off to clinche the gold for the US.
The US went into the jump off with a slight advantage; they had four riders and one drop score, while all three of the Canadian’s score counted.
While the first three US riders went clean in the jump off, Canada’s Jill Henselwood (who was the first rider to go clean on the difficult Round 2 course over half way through the line up), had four faults on her ride. The final riders for each team didn’t have to take to the course, as the US clinched it with their three consecutive clear rounds.
Round 2 Recap
The Round 2 Course was incredibly difficult; many tall tricky verticals and combinations with just 1 or 2 strides in between. The riders were ready for the water jump today and few struggled with it, but the red Olympic rings vertical that finished the course posed a problem for many riders who had gone clean up until that point. It was so difficult that it was more than half way through the line up before Jill Henselwood became the first rider to go clean. She was followed by Laura Kraut, Ian Millar of Canada, Edwina Alexander of Australia, and Ben Maher of Great Britain.
Of other top riders, Roderigo Pessoa had a great round until he had a rail at the last fence, and Ludger Beerbaum half-halted a little too strongly after the water jump and had a refusal at the next fence.
Switzerland had been tied with the US for first after Round 1, but they had a rough day with several refusals, dropped rails, and time penalties. They ended up just out of the medals in fourth place.
Final Show Jumping Team Standings
7 Great Britain
Individual Standings Going Into Round A
The top 35 riders, including any tied for 35th, will move on to Round A of the individual competition. The top 20 in Round A move on to Round B, and medals are determined by combining the faults incurred in Rounds A and B. There will, of course, be a jump off if any riders are tied.
1 Tony Andre Hansen, Norway
2 Jos Lansink, Belgium
2 McLain Ward, USA
2 Edwina Alexander, Australia
2 Eric Lamaze, Canada
6 Ben Maher, Great Britain
7 Roderigo Pessoa, Brazil
8 Denis Lynch, Ireland
8 Marc Houtzager, Netherlands
8 Ian Millar, Canada
8 Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Sweden
12 Laura Kraut, USA
13 Steve Guerdat, Switzerland
14 Niklaus Schurtenberger, Switzerland
15 Pius Schwizer, Switzerland
16 Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum
17 Beezie Madden, USA
18 Ramzy Al Duhami, Saudi Arabia
18 Angelique Hoorn, Netherlands
18 Stein Endresen, Norway
18 Tim Stockdale, Great Britain
18 Will Simpson, USA
23 Jean-Claude van Geenberghe, Ukraine
23 Antonio Chedraui, Mexico
23 Morten Djupvik, Norway
26 Jill Henselwood, Canada
27 Bernardo Alves, Brazil
27 Peter Eriksson, Sweden
29 Laurie Lever, Australia
29 Gerco Schroder, Netherlands
31 Christian Ahlmann, Germany
31 Nick Skelton, Great Britain
33 Kirk Webby, New Zealand
33 Federico Fernandez, Mexico
33 Ludger Beerbaum, Germany
36 Matt Williams, Australia
Olympic rules state that the top 35 riders move on, but only 3 may qualify for Round A from each country. This means that Will Simpson, who is tied for 18th, is the lowest ranked US rider and will sit this one out. Mac Cone of Canada had to withdraw, so the other three Canadians are safe. No other teams had more than 3 riders in the top 35.
If you missed the live coverage of show jumping Round 2, you can go back and watch it online. Or, catch it tonight on Oxygen from 6:00-8:00 pm. Don’t miss the individual finals on Thursday, August 21. It will take place that evening in Hong Kong, and air live online at 7:15 am or later on television on NBC from 10 am-1 pm.
NBC will post the video in their long-form rewind section after it airs live. Go to the Olympic equestrian video channel to watch show jumping online.