The team rating of the eventing competition in Rio was a riotous up and down. Before the show jumping part the German team lay 12 points behind the bronze medal and so they knew: They had to hope for others’ mistakes. And so it happened. While the Germans knew about their strength – all three team riders stayed clear- the competitors struggled. Australia, who left the cross country in the lead (with only three riders) had to accept their first setback with Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio and 17 points. Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh stayed clea. Then they had to fear Chris Burton with Santano II, currently in first place of the individual rating. At this time the Germans already were sure to win at least bronze. If Burton made two mistakes then Hans Melzer’s team would win silver. And these two fences were down. Chris Burton, still in third place before the individual show jumping competition said:”Sometimes one does everything right, and mistakes still happen. But I’m not disappointed. It’s the first big four-star event for this horse. Of course there was a lot of pressure since we were the last pair. Now I’ll just do my job and see what happens.”
The New Zealanders also dropped back with the team. They started into the show jumping team event in second place (also with three riders), but they had to add 8 points from Jonelle Price with Faerie Dianimo and unbelievable 16 points from Mark Todd with Leonidas. only Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation stayed clear. So the team ended in fourth place.
The French went up from third to gold rank, they only had one penalty point since Mathie Lemoine and Bart L’s 8 points were discarded. So the French, who already won gold in 2004, have taken over from the Germans, who won gold in London.
The mood of the German team was quite relaxed after they hadn’t dared to hope for a medal after yesterday’s substandard cross country day. National coach Hans Melzer said: “Unbelievable. After Michael stayed clear I had to leave – I just couldn’t watch no longer, I only heard ‘Ah’ and ‘oh’ – I didn’t want to conjure up any mistakes.”
Michael Jung, currently in the lead of the individual rating after Burton’s mistakes, but only just ahead of French Astier Nicolas with Piaf de B’Neville, said: “At the moment I’m still quite relaxed. Sam just felt good and the success has inspired us. Let’s hope that all our horses will jump like they did right now.”