After the first round of Team jumping yesterday, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and USA all tied for the lead on a zero score at Deodoro Olympic Park, with France just behind by just a single time fault.
A total of 15 nations competed in the first round, and amongst the seven teams that did not make the cut were the defending Olympic champions from Great Britain.
For Great Britain it was an unfortunate day around Guilherme Jorge’s course, as at the open water Nick Skelton was penalised with Big Star in an otherwise perfect round. His team-mates Ben Maher (Tic Tac) and Michael Whitaker (Cassionato) both claimed five-faults, due to leaving a fence on the floor and exceeding the 81 seconds time-allowed. John Whitaker then had a round with an uncharacteristic 23 faults with Ornellaia, shattering the vision of an Olympic Team jumping medal for Great Britain.
On the other-hand the Americans, Dutch and Germans all posted three clears. After super clear rounds from Kent Farrington (Voyeur) and Lucy Davis (Barron) and then a clear from double Olympic team gold medallist McLain Ward, the Americans were done and dusted. “Quite clearly our hopes are to be in contention for the top, but you never know what to expect - we take it one round at a time,” said Kent Farrington.
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci, was called up from the reserve bench, where she produced a spectacular clear for the German team, along with Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z) and Daniel Deusser (First Class). World and European double-champion, The Netherlands’ Jeroen Dubbeldam (Zenith), was supported by great performances from Maikel van der Vleuten (Verdi) and Harrie Smolders (Emerald).
The home-side Brazil showed their abilities in the sport when Eduardo Menezes (Quintol), Doda de Miranda (Cornetto K) and Pedro Veniss (Quabri d’Elle) performed great rounds. “I was here in 2007 when we won the Pan-American gold medal. We are really focused on doing the same tomorrow,” said Pedro Veniss.
The French are also in contention despite a difficult start to the Games. “Since we arrived here in Rio we had the injury to Ryan (the horse of Simon Delestre who was withdrawn) and then the small problem during the night, five days ago, with Flora (Penelope Leprevost’s mare Flora de Mariposa). And then Penelope had a fall (in the opening competition on Sunday). But maybe it helps us to fight more!” said Kevin Staut.
Today see’s 49 horse-and-rider combinations come forward for the second round of the medal decider, including defending individual Olympic champion and Swiss team member Steve Guerdat with Nino des Buissonnets. “I rode energetically to the water jump because there were a lot of mistakes there and perhaps I over-motivated him and it led to the mistake at the next fence. But tomorrow is another day and a new course, and anything can happen”, said Steve Guerdat.