August 16, 2016 — The United States rallied with three clear rounds in the individual 2nd qualifier/team round 1 on Tuesday, August 16th at the Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Kent Farrington and Voyeur, McLain Ward and Azur, and Lucy Davis with Barron all jumped fault free to push the United States to the top of the team leaderboard where they now stand in a four-way tie for Team Gold with the Netherlands, Brazil and Germany.
It was another tough day of competition at Deodoro Equestrian Complex with temperatures in the upper 80s and 65 riders advancing to this second day of Olympic Show Jumping. Scores were counted for both individual and team rankings. The group of individual pairs rode before team riders.
Kent was again the first out for Team USA and while he didn’t think the fences were especially tall, the time allowed of 81 seconds was a factor.
“I am thrilled with my horse,” Kent said. “It’s a great start for Team USA. I think tomorrow will be significantly bigger. It’s exactly what you would expect at a championship level.”
The triple combination on Guilherme Jorge’s course came early on today. It was delicately built with a rarely-seen one stride between the elements. Several riders had refusals there, including Great Britain’s veteran John Whitaker.
Lucy Davis, who had the final fence down in Sunday’s first day of competition, learned from that experience and rode a careful track today to notch the USA’s second clear of the day.
“I sometimes get a little too deep or too flat to these tall verticals,” she said. “There are a lot of tall verticals here, so I was really trying to stay patient. Having the last jump Sunday was a good reminder for me to keep my body back and stay with him until the end.”
McLain and Azur were third to go in the Team USA rotation, and put in a characteristically strong round to add nothing to their score. Beezie and Cortes ‘C’ picked up 8 faults as the drop score.
Germany continues to impress, with three of their riders standing at the top of the leaderboard on zero faults. For Daniel Deusser, his Olympic debut has started off on the right foot; the former world No.1 has now jumped faultless over two days of competition aboard First Class.
“In the moment it still feels like we are in really good shape but you never know,” Daniel said. “It doesn’t have to be that the horses are really tired but at the end maybe one pole [down] would already be too much.”
However, much like their colleagues in the disciplines of eventing and dressage, the German team is a hot favorite to medal at these Olympics and with all four riders jumping clean today, they are holding the best team record so far.
Brazil and the Netherlands each had a rider dropped from the competition, for two very different reasons, but for each team, those were the drop scores, and they are both sitting on a cumulative zero faults that can be credited to clears across the board from their other riders.
Disqualifications and Drama
There were quite a few unusual occurrences during today’s competition. First, Cassio Rivetti of the Ukraine, was disqualified from competition when a FEI steward found a spur mark on his horse’s side after his round, in violation of FEI Jumping Rules 242.3.1 for overuse of spurs. This came after two riders were disqualified from the competition on Sunday, one of those for spur marks.
About 25 rounds later, Pilar Lucrecia Cordon of Spain was underway with her round when a distraught man in the stands began screaming hysterically. His screams, later said to be for his lost mother, rang out across the arena. Volunteers subdued the man in tears and security was able to escort him out but not before Pilar and her horse Gribouille Du Lys touched the final two fences for 8 faults. Pilar was visibly angry as she rode out of the arena.
Finally, after Stephan De Freitas Barcha and Landpeter Do Feroleto rode an 8 fault round for Brazil, they were also rung out by the FEI steward for overuse of spurs. They are disqualified from competing further in Rio. On his way to the open water, Stephen spurred his horse several times. This is a blow to Brazil, which will move forward in the team competition, but with just three riders and no drop score. Brazil is protesting the disqualification, though there has not been an official statement yet.
There was confusion as to why Stephan is disqualified from returning to compete, while Jur Vrieling of the Netherlands was allowed to jump on the second day of competition after being disqualified for overuse of the whip on Sunday.
The competition format is such that on Sunday, August 14th competition was scored as the first individual qualifier—scores count for individual competition—but was only a team qualifier for round 1 of team competition. So while Sunday’s round determined team order of go, scores did not carry forward for team competition. However, today’s scores do carry forward, because the jumping counted as team round 1.
Therefore, both of Stephan’s scores were nulled and he is disqualified from jumping again.
Even without Stephan, Team Brazil is in a strong position to do well in the following days of competition. Brazil’s final rider of the day, Pedro Veniss, jumped clear with Quabri D’Isle.
Show jumping returns tomorrow, Wednesday, August 17th at 10:00 a.m. local time. The individual 3rd qualifier/team round 3 will see the top 8 teams return in Nations Cup format to compete for team medals. The top 45 individuals will also jump again.
Visit this link to see the full report on Round 1 of the show jumping.