Many will say that it was to be expected. There is only one person who can do it – Michael Jung. However, it’s not that easy, even if one wouldn’t have won a large sum placing one’s bets on Michael Jung. He and Wurttemberger gelding Sam FBW by Stan the Man xx won more than 4 points ahead (40,9) ahead of French Astier Nicolas with 13-year-old French gelding Piaf de B’Neville by Cap de B’Neville (48,0). The French took some pressure off Michael Jung because he had one fence down and two time penalty points in the final of the individual rating. Third place went to US American Phillip Dutton with Mighty Nice (51,8 points), who also had a fence down in the second round. Christopher Burton (AUS), who led the competition after the cross country had two fences down in each round and therefore finished in fifth place behind his team colleague Sam Griffiths with Paulank Brockagh.
Michael Jung’s title defense (he already won gold in London) now is in one line with New Zealander Mark Todd, who was able to achieve the victory with Charisma in 1984 and 1988 and with Dutch Charles Pahud de Mortanges (1924 and 1928). Michael Jung was extremely happy: “It’s a very special moment. Sam is a fantastic horse. I’m unbelievably proud. He’s able to run up every hill and jump every fence.” Jung didn’t want to say something about Sam’s possible retirement. “First he will get back to his meadow in the black forest. He’s missing them. He doesn’t like the grass here as much. Usually I planned to compete him at Burghley but now that will not happen. I hope he’ll get through the winter and then we’ll see what kind of feeling I’ll get from him next year.”
Second best German rider was Sandra Auffarth with Opgun Luovo, who gambled away their chances in the cross country. In the show-jumping part he performed extremely well and stayed clear in both rounds, which caused the pair to finish in place eleven instead of 20. “You can always rely on Wolle,” Sandra Auffarth said after finishing the competition. “He was highly motivated and didn’t show even a trace of fatigue.” With the distance of one night sleep she said about the cross country course: “Maybe I should have ridden once more in the morning. He just was way too fresh. But the horses all were “on” here. At least he wanted to do everything right today.”
After the cross country Ingrid Klimke and Hale Bob by Helikon xx, also advanced through the ranks. Instead of 19th place (after the cross country) they finished in 14th place, even though they had one fence down in the second round. Klimke was content with the last day: “Bobby jumped great. If he deserved an award yesterday then he’s my hero today.”
Germany is only the second nation to win Gold at three consecutive Olympic Games. Their successor were the Netherlands from 1924 to 1932.
Astier Nicolas is the first French rider to take two Olympic medals home.
Phillip Dutton has already won three Olympic medals – but the first one for the United States. He already won team gold with the Australian teams in 1996 and 2000.