U.S. Misses Team Show Jumping Medal at the Olympics

August 6, 2012

LONDON UK - A team show jumping medal slipped away from the United States today at the London Olympic Games, as faults by every rider left the squad in a tie for sixth place with Sweden on 28 faults.

Great Britain, meanwhile, gave a fabulous performance that was buoyed by the largely partisan crowd of 23,000 at Greenwich Park. The Brits won a jump-off on zero penalties to clinch the gold, while the Netherlands had a 12-fault score in the tiebreaker to take the silver.

The two leading teams finished the first round today on 8 faults each, necessitating an extra round. Saudi Arabia, which had 14 penalties, earned the bronze medal. Switzerland was fourth with 16, followed by the three-member team from Canada (26) that had to operate without a drop score.

U.S. anchor rider Rich Fellers, who had an uncharacteristic two rails with Flexible, qualified for Wednesday's two-round individual finals, as did McLain Ward with Antares, who also had 8 faults. All 35 in the competition will start with a clean slate.

The show jumping individual finals will probably be America's last chance to get an equestrian medal in the Olympics, since the dressage competitors stand fifth going into tomorrow's team finals and are unlikely to rise to the podium or take an individual medal. The United States riders have not come home from the Olympics without a medal since 1956.


Asked what went wrong this afternoon, Fellers said, "Zeroes (zero faults) are always good, and we didn't have any zeroes today. It's tough to win a Nations Cup without clear rounds."

While Fellers noted that Flexible was fine going into today’s competition, "he did feel a little more tired in the warm-up," Fellers observed. "It will be nice to give him a day of rest, and I think he'll come back really good on Wednesday for the individual. He hasn't had a rail in the first round of a grand prix since March. It was quite a streak."

The best score today belonged to Beezie Madden, who was eliminated from the individual ranks after problems with Via Volo at a double in the opening round of show jumping. But the horse has come back and today had only one rail down.

Reed Kessler, 18, ended her run as the USA's youngest-ever equestrian Olympian with 12 faults on Cylana.

"I would have really liked a clear round. I am only 18 and under pressure. I have loved being here," continued Kessler, but added, "I have a long way to go."

The competition schedule and full results are available at www.london2012.com/equestrian.

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