The team of Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser, and Laura Collett and London 52, sat comfortably in provisional gold following the cross-country and held their nerve in the showjumping to claim the top spot. All three riders were Olympic debutants going into Tokyo.
Oliver picked up four jumping faults by knocking down the first part of the double at fence 9, but kept his cool to ensure the team stayed in the lead. Tom jumped clear, and Laura picked up four faults, so the team finished on a total score of 86.3 to secure the gold.
“It was unreal. It hasn’t sunk in yet, but at the same time we were three riders on exceptional horses,” said Oliver. “I think that’s what has been so special; that all three of us have been on literally horses of a lifetime.”
Laura said standing on the podium was a “completely surreal experience”.
“I’m a little bit lost for words. Even just being here at an Olympics is a dream come true, let alone to win a gold medal. It’s going to take a few days, weeks or months probably for this to sink in,” she said.
“It’s been an unbelievable team experience. Like Oliver said, we knew we were sat on exceptional horses coming here. There was added pressure because there were amazing horses left at home so we felt like we needed to prove that the selectors had made the right decision, because they had a really tough choice to make. It’s a massive relief we didn’t let anyone down and proved just how special these horses are.”
Tom said the team had been “incredible”.
“We’re new to this experience, we all love pressure and we’ve come together as a three with three amazing horses all at the same time,” he said.
“From there it goes in many ways to our amazing teams at home, to sport, to Lottery funding and to everything that has come to us that has helped us along our way in training and coaching.”
Team GB finished comfortably ahead of silver medallists Australia – Kevin McNab and Don Quidam, Shane Rose and Virgil and Andrew Hoy and Vassily De Lassos – who completed on a score of 100.2
Andrew, who was competing at his eighth Olympics, described the silver medal as “very special”.
“We don’t come to these championships, especially Olympic Games to finish in fourth, fifth or sixth. We only come to get a medal and it’s been a complete team effort for sure,” he said.
“Vassily has done a wonderful job to finish on his dressage score but if it wasn’t for Kevin and Shane in the team, and this complete support team, we wouldn’t be here.”
France claimed the bronze. The team of Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold, Karim Florent Laghouag and Triton Fontaine, and Christopher Six on Totem De Brecey finished on 101.5. Nicolas picked up o.4 time-penalties, Christopher jumped clear, and Karim had four faults in the showjumping phase.
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