Another Gold and an exciting team final!

Tokyo Olympics logo. Credit NKBV @ Flickr
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The Team and Individual Show Jumping rounded up the last of the equestrian events last week. It was certainly an exciting end to the Olympics, setting the stage for the Para Dressage later this month.

All four courses across the competition were challenging! All three British riders; Harry Charles, Scott Brash and Ben Maher qualified for the Individual Final with clear rounds. Only the top 30 riders qualified and it proved a hot competition with just 2 penalties being the highest scoring qualifying round!

The final was even tougher! There were 2 eliminations and 3 retirements, including Harry Charles who struggled with Romeo 88. Scott Brash just missed out on the Jump Off picking up a single time penalty with his clear round, meaning all of Team GBs hopes rested on Ben Maher and Explosion W who jumped just 1 of 6 clears to make it into the jump off.

The Jump off was incredible. Japanese rider Daisuke Fukushima kicked it off with the first of 6 clears. Sweden were incredible with all three of their riders making it into the Jump Off and setting some blistering speed jump offs! When Ben Maher entered the ring we all knew it was going to be a tough ask. But they smashed it! Clear in 37.85 seconds. With just 2 riders left to go he was guaranteed a medal and it was enough to secure gold!

Going into the Team Qualifier, team GB felt a bit behind after Scott Brash had to withdraw after his horse sustained a minor injury. With Harry Charles and Holly Smith being quite young and new to the team, we knew it was a big ask for them. With Sweden being so strong in the Individual, we knew they would be setting a big challenge.

Only the top 10 teams would qualify for the final and with both Harry and Holly picking up faults, the pressure was on Ben when he entered the ring, especially with other teams sitting on very low scores. With just one pole down from Ben, team GB finished on 20 penalties in 7th place. As expected, Sweden were at the top with 0 penalties.

The final was tough. After high scoring rounds from Holly and Harry, Ben decided not to go, essentially withdrawing team GB from the competition. With final riders to go, France were the ones to beat on just 2 penalties. Sweden and USA were in joint second, both with 8 penalties. So France had a nice cushion to get around in. But heading into the double at fence three, the French rider crashed through the fence, then having to refuse the second element. When she represented the horse understandably refused and just like that, France were out of the medals!

We then had a jump off between the USA and Sweden for the gold. Since Sweden had the lowest combined time in the first round, they had the advantage of going second. It was such a fantastic jump off with all 6 riders jumping clear with quick times. But in the end, Sweden pipped the Americans to the post with a combined time of 122.90 seconds compared to the American’s 124.20. While both teams deserved the win, I do think Sweden deserved it slightly more!

Last Updated on 10/08/2021

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