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USA claims team gold in thrilling jump-off at WEG: ‘I’m proud to be American today’

The USA beat Sweden to team gold in a jump-off in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch-sponsored showjumping at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon this afternoon (Friday, 21 September).

All four riders for both teams had to compete in the final showdown, which came down to time after three from each nation went clear.

The home side’s final rider, McLain Ward, put in the fastest round of the jump-off in 32.58sec on Clinta. He was backed up by Laura Kraut (Zeremonie) — whose clear was the high spot for the US in the first round — Adrienne Sternlicht (Cristalline) and Devin Ryan (Eddie Blue).

“This team, this group, the people behind us all the way through — this is what’s great about America,” said McLain. “There were many different people and personalities fighting to do their best. I’m proud to be American today.”

Silver medallists Sweden moved up from fourth overnight to secure a place in the jump-off thanks to clears from Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana) and Fredrik Jönsson (Cold Play). Peder Fredricson had eight faults in the first round today, but went clear in the jump-off.

“We had a great team and great team spirit. We did it together today and we should be very proud,” said Malin.

Germany took the bronze, with clears from Simone Blum (DSP Alice) and Marcus Ehning (Pret A Tout) sealing the deal. Student Laura Klaphake (Catch Me If You Can OLD) had four faults and Maurice Tebbel (Don Diarado) five. Simone now leads the individual standings.

“I am totally happy with this young and inexperienced team and to win here a medal means a lot to me,” said chef d’equipe Otto Becker.

Switzerland led going into today’s competition, but had a disastrous time when Werner Muff’s 13 faults on Daimier had to count because Janika Sprunger was eliminated for two refusals at the second fence on Bacardi VDL. They did secure Olympic qualification with fourth place, alongside The Netherlands in fifth and Australia in sixth.

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Keep up to date with all the news from Tryon on horseandhound.co.uk

Horse & Hound’s bumper magazine reports from WEG will be in the issues dated 20 September (dressage and eventing) and 27 September (showjumping and para dressage).

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