After the first round of the team show jumping competitions the results were close together: Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands and Germany had zero penalty points, France one time penalty point. But after the second round the result became quite clear.
After three riders France had already won gold. Philippe Rozier and French Rahotep de Tostcane by Quidam de Revel/Laudanum only had one time penalty point, Kevin Staut and Reveur de Hurtebise by Kashmir van’t Schuttershof/Capricieux des Six Censes stayed clear and Roger-Yves Bost and Sydney Une Prince by Baloubet du Rouet/Alfa D’Elle also had one time penalty point. Philippe Guerdat’s team almost couldn’t believe their luck since they had to replace Simon Delestre with Philippe Rozier. And for a short time it wasn’t sure if Pénélope Léprevost would be able to compete since her mare Flora de Mariposa showed slight signs of a colic. But then everything went well. “It was a hard week,” Kevin Staut said. “But you begin to fight even more. I’m very proud to be a French and have won the gold medal.”
Philippe Rozier is also especially proud. The 53-year-old brings the second Olympic gold to his family. His father Marcel was part of the gold-winning equipe at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Only 40 years later France made it again to the top of the podium. Roger-Yves Bost, the third rider said he didn’t feel the pressure: “No, I didn’t even know the results, therefore I didn’t feel any pressure. I just concentrated on my performance.”
When three riders had finished it also was already clear that the USA would win the silver medal. They knew before the second round that they would only compete with three riders, but Robert Ridland’s team still delivered a strong performance. Beezie Madden’s Cortes ‘C’ suffered an injury to a tendon the day before and therefore couldn’t be competed. Being asked how they could deal with the pressure McLain Ward said: “We didn’t have any other option. But as a team we feel very strong.”
While the Brazilians, who also only had three riders left after Stephan de Freitas Barcha’s disqualification finished in fifth place, Germany and Canada had to participate in a jump-off for bronze. Canada, who stayed clear in the second round once again had a chance at bronze, while the German riders had more trouble. Christian Ahlmann and KWPN stallion Taloubet Z b. Galoubet A made a mistake at the wall combination. “The most difficult part was the time,” so the current number one of the world said. “It made the course even more difficult. The obstacles became higher and wider. But that’s how it is at the Olympic Games. You don’t get handed anything here.”
While the first two days were the days of clear rounds the second round was the day of the four penalty points. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci by For Feeling/Corland slipped at the last obstacle. “I’m very disappointed,” the rider, who first had only been reserve rider, said afterwards. “I didn’t expect that. You also need a bit luck. Maybe I felt too safe.”
Daniel Deußer and First Class by Balou du Rouet also had a mistake, in the triple combination. The last rider Ludger Beerbaum would decide if a jump-off was going to take place or if Canada would win bronze. Ludger Beerbaum said the day before that he could still play a role for the team and thought that he would be able to contribute to the team result. And so it happened. He was the only German rider with a clear round and therefore saved the German’s chance at bronze.
In the jump-off Canada and Germany fought for bronze. In contrast to normal Nations Cups all four riders have to compete in the jump-off again at the Olympic Games. But the fourth rider was no longer necessary. When Canada had two fences down and Ahlmann, Michaels-Beerbaum and Deußer all stayed clear the bronze medal for Germany was safe.
National Coach Otto Becker was very happy: “As expected it was extremely difficult . We have earned the medal. For the whole year all of us have worked towards this.” DOKR manager and Chef de Mission, Dr. Dennis Peiler, was hapy: “All of them fought incredibly. We had a special team spirit here. This made the difference. The DOSB expected us to win three to five medals and we won six. We’ve exceeded all expectations.”
Christian Ahlmann thinks that there are many favourites for the individual rating: “There are many who could show their strength. And there are many who might have an advantage since they were able to use today as a training round since their result wasn’t needed for the team.” Canada and Germany had the additional rounds in the jump-off. This could be a disadvantage. “It was extremely hot today,” so Daniel Deußer. “First Class sweated as much as I did. Before the jump-off I just jumped very few obstacles. I couldn’t say that he was tired, but we’ll have to see how it will be tomorrow. We won’t work the horses any more, maybe just ride them in the shadows or in the hall but not more. I think that First Class has sufficient substance and I hope that he will be in good form once more on Friday.”