|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.