German show jumping reigns again

  • Germany dominated the team Olympic show jumping competition at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre in Athens last night, with an impressive performance that saw them lower only two rails across the two rounds.

    Multi-medallist Ludger Beerbaum and his faithful Goldfever produced a double clear for his country, as did Beerbaum’s student Marco Kutscher riding Montender. This is Beerbaum’s fifth gold medal from five Olympic Games, and the ninth team show jumping gold medal for Germany.

    After the medal ceremony Beerbaum praised the efforts of the whole team and acknowledged the importance of his country’s all encompassing approach to equestrianism.

    “We had a good day today and I think that everybody contributed to the success,” he said. “Germany has a huge amount of horses, a large breeding industry, shows and riders — it is a country of equestrian tradition. The combination of all this is the reason for our success.”

    The United States and Sweden were forced to jump off in the battle for silver and bronze after both teams finished with 20 penalties at the end of the second round.

    Three riders from each country jumped over the shortened course and all produced clear rounds, but the United States claimed silver with a faster time.

    “There was no way I could go fast enough to improve our score” explained Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, who would have been the fourth rider to jump for Sweden, “so, after discussion with my team and coach, I decided not to jump-off.”

    This was Sweden’s second Olympic bronze medal an incredible 76 years after their first, which was won in 1928.

    Unfortunately France, who were tipped as strong contenders for a team medal, were unable to present a team in the second round following the withdrawal of Eric Navet and Dollar du Murier and injury to Bruno Broucqusault’s Dileme de Cephein in the first round.

    Team results

    Gold – Germany;
    Silver – United States;
    Bronze – Sweden.

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