Germans hold off Britain to take gold in team eventing
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
July 31 - Ingrid Klimke made a meal of the final round, but the metronomical Germans held off a late charge by Great Britain to take gold in the team phase of the London 2012 Olympic eventing competition at here today.
The German anchor had four fences in hand as she started the final round of a charmingly British-themed show jumping course.
However, Butts Abraxxas, her powerful dark bay mount, touched the second fence and knocked down the third – a homage to Abbey Road of Beatles fame, complete with zebra crossing.
A nervous round also saw them dislodge a pole of the opening fence of the Stonehenge triple.
Nonetheless, once they had picked their way over the final obstacle – featuring a replica of the black front door of Number 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister's residence – and clocked up a single time fault, they had done enough in this, the place where you might say time was invented.
That Great Britain got so close to Klimke (pictured top) and her more impressive teammates was down to the last two home-team riders, Mary King and Tina Cook.
King rode an immaculate clear round on the tried and trusted Imperial Cavalier, allowing herself an emotional fist pump as she galloped across the line.
Cook, facing the pressure of keeping Britain as close as possible to Germany in the morning's penultimate round, picked up just one time penalty, having marginally exceeded the 83secs limit for completing the course.
Jumping earlier in the competition, Zara Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter, could not quite match this level of performance, watched by numerous members of her family.
She brought down a scarlet pole at the second fence – a tribute to the Post Office and the Penny Black – and also incurred three time penalties.
Her silver medal is nonetheless just reward for a courageous and accurate cross country round yesterday.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Princess Anne, Phillips' mother – who could not manage a medal when she competed in the event at Montreal in 1976 – must be a proud parent.
New Zealand pipped Sweden for bronze, in spite of a rare blemish from double Olympic champion Mark Todd, riding Campino.
The highlight for the Kiwis was a superb clear by another veteran Andrew Nicholson on Nereo.
July 2012: Clear round from Queen's granddaughter Phillips cheers huge equestrian crowd