America wins WEG vaulting team gold; Brits finish on a high

  • The home side came back from a poor performance in their first freestyle to clinch the vaulting team gold medal at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

    The team lay third after Friday’s round, but scored the highest mark in today’s second freestyle round (8.779) — to take the top spot overall.

    “Our freestyle theme is Romeo and Juliet,” said vaulter Rosalind Ross. “We hope to embody the essence of the play and show some of the characters, with myself as Juliet and Devon [Maitozo] as Romeo.”

    Devon is the foundation of their team — the 35-year-old has been vaulting internationally for 20 years and also found their horse, Palatine. In addition he put together the music for the freestyle, using Prokofiev’s ballet and composing additions to bring the story to a modern audience.

    Devon explained how the team (pictured) turned their fortunes around after Friday.

    “We changed our focus,” he said. “The day before yesterday we were concentrating on details and it got a little overwhelming. Today we went into the arena feeling calm and grounded and were able to access the training we’ve put in over the past year together.

    Lunger Carolyn Bland also contributed to the improved performance by changing Palatine’s warm-up to erase some tension he showed on Friday.

    Germany took the team silver, with Austria in bronze.

    The British team pulled a great freestyle performance out of the bag today to score 7.772 for seventh in this round and eighth overall.

    “I’m thrilled to bits with them — there are some really good young girls in this group and we’ll be aiming for a medal in 2014,” said lunger Julie Newell.

    WEG vaulting results

    Full report on the vaulting from WEG — including Joanne Eccles’ gold medal — in H&H out next week, 14 October.

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