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2012 London Olympics Eventing


by Louise Parkes
Eventing Dressage

German riders filled the top two places in the individual rankings as Olympic Eventing got underway at Greenwich Park in London (GBR) on July 28 with the first of two days of dressage. Ingrid Klimke, team gold medalist at the Beijing Games four years ago, steered Butts Abraxxas to a score of 39.30 for a narrow lead over Dirk Schrade partnering King Artus. The host nation’s Mary King and Imperial Cavalier slotted into third.

The U.S.’s Boyd Martin and Otis Barbotiere kept their cool, scoring 50.70. That was immediately relegated by the 46.20, posted by Chris Burton, and HP Leilani, giving the Australians a strong start. When Sam Griffiths (Happy Times) put 45.79 on the board and Andrew Hoy (Rutherglen) scored 41.70, the men from Down Under were sitting pretty.

The home fans had plenty to cheer about when Mary King, whose career as an Olympian spans 20 years, produced another of her trademark polished performances with Imperial Cavalier. Nicola Wilson contained the exuberant Opposition Buzz to kick-start the British effort with a mark of 51.70, but King’s 40.90 pinned them into a secure position.  

On the second day of eventing dressage, July 29, Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and Noonday de Conde produced a sensational test to take the individual lead. The 11-year-old French-bred mare was beautifully ridden by her 36-year-old rider, who has been training with Dirk Schrade in Germany for the past three years. The softness of Oiwa’s hand and leg-aids, and the quietness of his riding style, produced a test filled with poise, elegance, and balance to earn a mark of 38.10 which took the individual lead and rocketed Japan into fifth place in the teams.

Italy’s Stefano Brecciaroli slotted into second place, while New Zealand’s Mark Todd moved into third.

There was intense excitement at the arrival of Team GB’s Zara Phillips and High Kingdom, and they made a dramatic entrance full of pizazz that earned a score of 46.10. With Robbie Williams’ “She’s the One” playing in the background, the 31-year-old Briton carried on to finish with a flourish to rapturous applause.

She was immediately upstaged by the pure accuracy of Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Wega who joined first-day leaders Ingrid Klimke and Butts Abraxxas in temporary pole position on a score of 39.30.

The Australians continued to build their position with a mark of 40.00 from Lucinda Fredericks and Flying Finish, while Tina Cook’s rain-drenched but happy ride with Miners Frolic, was rewarded with 42.00.

At the end of eventing dressage, the host nation was third behind Australia in second, while the defending champions from Germany were out in front. Just three penalty points separated the first two, and the British were less than five points adrift, stalked by the Swedes and Kiwis just 1.2 points further behind. 

Photo captions: 

Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and Butts Abraxxas took the early lead in the dressage phase of Eventing at the Olympic equestrian events venue in Greenwich Park today.  Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.
Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and Noonday de Conde produced a sensational test to take the individual lead after the dressage phase of Eventing at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich Park (GBR) today. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.


Olympic Eventing cross-country produced spectacular sport in Greenwich Park, where at the end of an afternoon, team Germany maintained the advantage. The host British side was just over five penalty points behind in silver medal position going into the final jumping phase, while Sweden was just over a single point further in arrears.

First-day dressage joint-leaders Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Sara Algotsson Ostholt (SWE) returned to the top of the individual leaderboard, when Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa was one of ten fallers on the track over which 15 of the 70 starters were eliminated.

On cross country, the Aussies were severely hampered by elimination for both Sam Griffiths (Happy Times) who fell on the flat between fences, and anchorman Clayton Fredericks who hit the turf when Bendigo lost his landing gear after the big drop at fence 20. When Lucinda Fredericks and Flying Finish had a run-out at the narrow upbank exit from the second water complex, the Australians completed in sixth place, starting stadium jumping 17 points behind team USA, in fifth after cross country.

The award for the most sensational dismount of the day may have gone to Holland’s Elaine Pen who, going sixth from last, was unseated at the middle element of second water and hung on, with the crowd roaring her encouragement, before gravity won out. Bitterly disappointed to drop into the shallow water, she turned to her mare Vira to give her an apologetic pat and a hug. 

Photo captions:
cross country: Boyd Martin, USA on Otis Barbotire
cross country 2: Karen Lende O'Connor on Mr. Medicott leaving the start box
cross country 3:  Mark Todd, New Zealand on Campino
The drop: Alexander Paternell South Africa on Asih
William Fox-Pitt on Lionheart for Great Britian
William Fox-Pitt on Lionheart for Great Britian
Stadium Jumping, July 31

Team Germany repeated their 2008 Olympic medal-winning performance, claiming Eventing team and individual gold at the London 2012 Olympics. They had clinched the team title even before their last rider went into the ring, and Michael Jung set a new record in equestrian sport, becoming the first-ever event rider to hold Olympic, European and World titles at the same time. What a way to celebrate his 30th birthday!

The course: The 12-fence track for the team competition had plenty of twists and turns, including four roll-backs, and a tight time-allowed of 83 seconds; it asked plenty of questions after the previous day’s tough cross-country challenge.
There were just 12 clear rounds, and the first was registered by Italian individual Vittoria Panizzon, who was 22nd after cross country.

It was a super-tight battle between Britain and New Zealand in the closing stages. Mary King’s round with Imperial Cavalier kept the host nation’s hopes alive, but Andrew Nicholson and Nereo matched that with a fault-free effort for New Zealand. When Nicholson’s fellow-countryman, Mark Todd, collected seven faults with Campino and Britain’s Tina Cook and Miners Frolic picked up a single time fault, the host nation was assured of silver and the Kiwis of bronze. 

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