Great Britain Wins Gold in Olympic Team Jumping, Netherlands Silver, Saudi Arabia Bronze

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Peter Charles on Vindicat clinching the Olympic team gold medal for Great Britain in a jumpoff with the Netherlands. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

LONDON, Aug. 6–Great Britain won the Olympic team gold medal Monday, their first in 60 years in jumping, in a jumpoff against the Netherlands that was one of the most thrilling battles of the entire London Games with a city skyline as the backdrop before a stadium packed with 23,000 spectators.

The overwhelmingly British crowd erupted into a frenzy of cheering and waving the Union Jack for their team’s victory over the Dutch who won silver and Saudi Arabia’s first ever team bronze in the first ever jumpoff in team competition in the 100 years of equestrian sport in the Olympics.

The atmosphere at historic Greenwich Park that dates back 600 years as a royal park was electric for the second and final day of team competition to decide the medal positions. Eight teams advanced from Sunday’s round–Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Brazil, USA and Great Britain.

Nick Skelton on the nine-year-old KWPN stallion Big Star was the first British team combination and pulled out the first clear round of the day. Nick later described his horse as “a freak, there really isn’t anything he can’t do. Long, short, he can do it all–he’s an absolute genius.”

British gold medal team of Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Maikel van der Vleuten on Verdi and Marc Houztzager on Tamino got turned in clear round for the Netherlands while Prince Abdullah al Saud on Davos dropped their first rail of the pair’s competition in leading the Saudi team to bronze.

Spectators were ecstatic when Great Britain ended a 60-year drought to claim jumping team gold for only the second time in the history of the Olympic Games. They had to battle all the way, and it came down to a two-way jump-off against the Netherlands.
Bur Nick Skelton, Peter Charles, Ben Maher and Scott Brash triumphed in the finest style and, to put the icing on the cake, they did it on home soil. Saudi Arabia took bronze behind the Dutch, with Switzerland finishing fourth, outside the medals.

For Nick and Peter ths level at this success has been a long time coming.

“It’s taken me 54 years,” Nick Skelton said. “It’s unbelievable and what a place to do it! I have a wonderful horse and it’s a dream come true. It’s great for our country and great for our sport. The lads have done great,” he added, turning to his team-mates, “and I’m really pleased for Pete (Charles). He has had a rough trip but he came good in the end.”

Marc Houtzager and Tamino, one the standout combinations for the Netherlands. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Following Britain’s first round it was a lot of nail biting waiting for Holland’s last rider, Gerco Schroder and the aptly named London, to complete the course, the only threat to the home side at that stage and he did well enough to force the jumpoff.

But Nick Skelton, Peter Charles, Ben Maher and Scott Brash triumphed in the finest style and, to put the icing on the cake, they did it on home soil. Saudi Arabia took bronze behind the Dutch, with Switzerland finishing fourth, outside the medals.

For Nick and Peter ths level at this success has been a long time coming.

“It’s taken me 54 years,” Nick Skelton said. “It’s unbelievable and what a place to do it! I have a wonderful horse and it’s a dream come true. It’s great for our country and great for our sport. The lads have done great,” he added, turning to his team-mates, “and I’m really pleased for Pete (Charles). He has had a rough trip but he came good in the end.”For 52-year-old Peter Charles it was no easy ride.

“I got off to a bad start, but this is as good as it gets!” he said as he grasped the gold medal hanging around his neck.For Scott Brash and Ben Maher, Olympic glory has come early in their careers, but they both realized just what has been achieved and were fortunate to be a part of it. “I’m delighted for the older guys. All these years they’ve worked hard, riding loads of different horses, and it’s great to play a part in helping them to achieve this–everyone played their part,” said 26-year-old Scott Brash who is the youngest team member.

He broke into the British team at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010, but only really clinched his place in the Olympic side with performances over the last eight months riding Hello Sanctos. He hails from Peebles in Scotland and, in an interesting coincidence, there was also a Scotsman on the only other British team to claim Olympic gold back in 1952. That was Douglas Stewart who rode Aherlow alongside Wilfred White (Nizefela) and Harry Llewellyn (Foxhunter).

Prince Abdulla al Saud on Davos leading the Saudis to their first ever Olympic team medal. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Peter Charles said afterward,  “I wasn’t much good for the rest of the week but I did good in the end! I got off to a bad start, but this is dream come true!”.It was also a dream come true for the entire stadium and the massive numbers of viewers following a fabulous piece of Olympic history live on television across the world.The British team comprised of two of the greatest fighters in the game and two rising stars showed grit, talent and huge determination. The toughest of commentators could hardly hold back the tears that also filled Skelton’s eyes.  So much pride and delight in achieving that ultimate goal.  And it’s not over yet.

“We have the best horse and rider in the world right now, Nick Skelton,” said Peter Charles of the man who goes into Wednesday’s individual final without having touched a pole so far.

Team rankings:

Great Britain Great Britain +2
Netherlands Netherlands +3
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia +4
Switzerland Switzerland +5
Canada Canada +=6
Sweden Sweden+=6
United States United States +8
Brazil Brazil+9
Mexico Mexico +=10
Australia Australia+=10
Germany Germany +12
France France +13
Belgium Belgium+14
Ukraine Ukraine +15
Individual standings:
Rk Bib Athlete Horse Result +
=1 341 Great Britain SKELTON Nick BIG STAR 0 Q +
=1 365 Netherlands van der VLEUTEN Maikel VERDI 0 Q +
=1 363 Netherlands HOUTZAGER Marc TAMINO 0 Q +
=4 305 Australia TOPS-ALEXANDER Edwina ITOT DU CHATEAU 4 Q +
=4 354 Saudi Arabia AL SAUD HRH Prince Abdullah DAVOS 4 Q +
=4 340 Great Britain MAHER Ben TRIPPLE X 4 Q +
=7 344 Germany EHNING Marcus PLOT BLUE 5 Q +
=7 330 Colombia BLUMAN Daniel SANCHA 5 Q +
9 353 Saudi Arabia AL DUHAMI Ramzy BAYARD VAN DE VILLA THERE 6 Q +
10 357 Saudi Arabia BAHAMDAN Kamal NOBLESSE DES TESS 7 Q +
=11 336 France STAUT Kevin SILVANA 8 Q +
=11 310 Belgium LANSINK Jos VALENTINA VAN ‘T HEIKE 8 Q +
=11 315 Brazil AFFONSO de MIRANDA NETO Alvaro RAHMANNSHOF’S BOGENO 8 Q +
=11 371 Switzerland GUERDAT Steve NINO DES BUISSONNETS 8 Q +
=11 370 Switzerland ESTERMANN Paul CASTLEFIELD ECLIPSE 8 Q +
=11 338 Great Britain BRASH Scott HELLO SANCTOS 8 Q +
=11 386 United States of America FELLERS Rich FLEXIBLE 8 Q +
=11 323 Canada MILLAR Ian STAR POWER 8 Q +
=11 364 Netherlands SCHRODER Gerco LONDON 8 Q +
=11 376 Sweden BENGTSSON Rolf-Goran CASALL 8 Q +
=11 373 Switzerland SCHWIZER Pius CARLINA IV 8 Q +
=22 347 Germany MICHAELS-BEERBAUM Meredith BELLA DONNA 9 Q +
=22 360 Mexico MICHAN Alberto ROSALIA LA SILLA 9 Q +
=22 322 Canada LAMAZE Eric DERLY CHIN DE MUZE 9 Q +
25 317 Brazil PESSOA Rodrigo REBOZO 10 Q +
=26 368 Portugal DINIZ Luciana LENNOX 12 Q +
=26 312 Belgium WATHELET Gregory CADJANINE Z 12 Q +
=26 351 Japan SUGITANI Taizo AVENZIO 12 Q +
=26 389 United States of America WARD Mclain ANTARES 12 Q +
=26 377 Sweden FREDRICSON Jens LUNATIC 12 Q +
31 303 Australia HARGREAVES Julia VEDOR 13 Q +
32 333 France DELESTRE Simon NAPOLI DU RY 14 Q +
=33 334 France GUILLON Olivier LORD DE THEIZE 16 Q +
=33 378 Sweden von ECKERMANN Henrik ALLERDINGS 16 Q +
37 384 Ukraine RIVETTI Cassio TEMPLE ROAD 17 Q +
Eliminated after 3rd Qualifier
Rk Bib Athlete Horse Result +
=33 366 Netherlands VRIELING Jur BUBALU 16 +
=33 372 Switzerland MUFF Werner KIAMON 16 +
=38 301 Argentina LAROCCA Jose Maria ROYAL POWER 20 R +
=38 348 Ireland O’CONNOR Cian BLUE LOYD 12 20 R +
=38 309 Belgium DEMEERSMAN Dirk BUFERO VAN HET PANISHOF 20 R +
=41 304 Australia PATERSON-ROBINSON James LANOSSO 21 R +
=41 381 Ukraine NAGEL Bjorn NIACK DE L’ABBAYE 21 R +
=41 345 Germany MEYER Janne Friederike LAMBRASCO 21 R +
44 361 Mexico PIZARRO Nicolas CROSSING JORDAN 28 +
45 318 Brazil REYNOSO FERNANDEZ FILHO Jose Robert MAESTRO ST LOIS 50 +