France Wins Olympic Eventing Team Gold, Germany Silver, Australia Bronze–Michael Jung & Sam Repeat For Individual Gold
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 9, 2016–France won the Olympic Eventing team gold, edging out defending champion Germany that took silver while Australia earned bronze and Michael Jung and Sam repeated as individual Olympic champions.
The final jumping phase of the eventing that began with dressage four days ago, followed by cross country and then jumping in the main equestrian stadium was marked by the some of the same mixed fortunes. Australia had been the overnight leader but dropped to third while Mark Todd, with seven Olympics to his name, had five fences down that dropped New Zealand out of contention.
Germany was unable to hold on to the team title won in London in 2012 but took silver but Michael Jung on Sam FBW repeated as the individual gold medal pair that keeps intact his record of being the current Olympic, world and European champion. Sam, on whom he won both Olympic golds in London, was not his first choice for these Games but became the go-to horse when Michael’s Takinou was injured.
Australia’s Christopher Burton on Santano II had two rails down that dropped the pair to fifth place individually from overnight leader. Santano is all dressage breeding of Sandro Hit as sire from a Brentano II mare that Christopher got the ride because the horse’s walk was not considered good enough for top dressage sport.
Australians had labeled Chris “a wild card” because of the sometimes wild behavior of the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding but he was placed on the team because of his riding skills and was the top finishing Aussie.
Phillip Dutton, an Olympic double gold medalist for his native Australia, claimed his first medal since switching to ride for the United States, taking individual bronze on Mighty Nice.
Phillip and Boyd Martin, another Australian who now rides for the United States, were the only two Americans remaining after another couple did not make it through cross country, so there was no team.
Phillip of West Grove, Pennsylvania is popular in the United States and this was his third Olympics for America.