Friday 16th of April 2021
Eventing

Fabulous French grab Olympic Eventing team gold

France clinched team gold in Olympic Eventing at the Olympic Equestrian Venue at Deodoro Park today, with defending champions Germany in silver and Australia slipping from the overnight lead to bronze. In a cliff-hanger of a contest it came down to the last four into the arena to decide the result.

A crucial clear showjumping round from Astier Nicolas and Piaf de B’Neville clinched team gold for France in the Eventing Team Final at Deodoro today, the first gold medal of the Rio 2016 Games for France and only the second medal overall.  © Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI

A crucial clear showjumping round from Astier Nicolas and Piaf de B’Neville clinched team gold for France in the Eventing Team Final at Deodoro today, the first gold medal of the Rio 2016 Games for France and only the second medal overall. © Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 09.51.49

The Australians led as the day began, but with only a 4.5 point advantage over their New Zealand neighbours while the French were just 6.2 further adrift and the Germans were stalking the leading pack over 11 penalty points further behind. France was the only one of the leading sides to go into today’s closing phase with a fully intact four-member team however, and in the end that proved the clincher.

The 12-fence track tested the turning skills of horses that took on one of the toughest Olympic Eventing cross-country tracks of all time yesterday. But most were jumping fresh and well again today and the pure quality of the four French horses was key to success.

Australia’s grip on the lead was severely undermined by a cricket score for their opener, Stuart Tinney, whose horse Pluto Mio kicked out four fences and also went over the time-allowed to collect a very expensive 17 faults. This dropped Australia into bronze medal spot, and left New Zealand out in front despite a single mistake from opener Jonelle Price with Faerie Dianimo. With the luxury of the full four-rider side the French were already looking very comfortable after fabulous rounds from both Karim Laghouag with Entebbe and Thibaut Vallette riding Qing de Briot, but they began to look vulnerable when Mathieu Lemoine’s Bart L got tired towards the end of the track and left two fences on the floor for eight faults.

The Kiwis lead meanwhile was further enhanced by a great clear from Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, while the Australians held their ground when Sam Griffiths returned on a zero score with Paulank Brockagh. Their chance of gold was gone, but they would hold onto bronze if the man who has led the individual standings throughout the competition, Christopher Burton, could bring Santano II home without incident.

As the final moments played out however the Germans loomed large on the horizon when Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo), Ingrid Klimke (Bob) and Michael Jung (Sam) posted three superb clears to pile the pressure on the three teams ahead of them. The French didn’t flinch, and a foot-perfect run from Astier Nicolas and Piaf de B’Neville meant France posted a finishing score of 169.0 penalties.

You may also like…

Join us on Facebook




Follow on Twitter