France has won team gold in eventing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, finishing on a final score of 169.0 and taking the title for just the second time in the country’s history. Germany won the silver medal on 172.8 thanks to being the only team that didn’t add a single jumping penalty this morning. Australia added 25 total penalties to win bronze on 175.3.
The French team prevailed in the nail-biting team team show jumping finale by adding nine total penalties to their team score after cross country, which guaranteed they would finish no lower than silver after Astier Nicholas and Piaf de b’Neville jumped a clear round as their final pair to go. Germany had already jumped clear with all three of their riders to secure no lower than bronze.
Then it was up to Mark Todd and Leonidas II, who entered the ring as the final pair to go for New Zealand. The Kiwis held a narrow lead over France in gold medal position and could afford one rail but not two, and Mark and Leonidas ultimately had four rails down to drop New Zealand to fourth place and out of medal contention.
Great Britain finished fifth on 252.1, the Netherlands finished sixth on 252.6, Brazil finished seventh on 280.9, Ireland finished eighth on 286.4, Italy finished ninth on 330.0, Canada finished 10th on 339.1, and Sweden finished 11th on 364.5. The U.S. and Russia did not complete teams.
The individual standings also shuffled significantly during the first round of show jumping, as all penalties incurred in the first round carry over to the second round. Chris Burton and Santano II, who led after cross country, pulled two rails to drop to third place on 45.6. Reigning Olympic champions Michael Jung and Sam jumped clear to move up one spot to first place on 42.0. Astier Nicolas and Piaf de b’Neville’s clear round moved them up one spot to second place on 42.0.
Here’s where it gets really exciting for Team USA: Phillip Dutton and HND Group’s Mighty Nice jumped clear with 1 time penalty (despite a broken curb chain!) to move up one spot to fourth place. Phillip and “Happy” are now just 2.2 penalties out of individual bronze position.
“They’re all tired and he had bumped his stifle a bit (on cross country), so he’s not quite as loose as he usually is, but he jumped well. My curb chain let go just as I was coming to the first fence, which wasn’t the most ideal way to start, but he jumped beautifully and worked it out,” Phillip said. “He’s feeling quite fresh actually. I’ve worked him down quite a lot because he can get wound up in there with atmosphere, but he feels good. He should be alright for the next round.”
Boyd Martin and the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate’s Blackfoot Mystery had two rails down but only dropped one spot on the leaderboard to seventh place on 58.9. The horse is a bit tired from his effort as Team USA’s trailblazer yesterday, Boyd said, but he jumped his heart out in the ring this morning.
“Obviously I wanted to jump a bit better, but he’s a little bit tired from yesterday,” Boyd said. “To be quite honest, I think I overrode the first rail and tried too hard to make him jump it clear and shut his jump down a little, so I’ll cop that one. That last pole he had he just felt a bit tired and weary. He really did give 110 percent yesterday, and he’s not quite as fresh as he usually is.”
Rebecca Howard and Blithe Hill Farm’s Riddle Master are having a fairytale go at the Olympics so far, jumping clear and inside the time this morning to move from 15th up to 10th place on 61.8. “I’ve been plagued with one pole in my last few four-stars, and I know we can jump clear show rounds. We jumped our last two clear, so I’m glad we continued that trend when it really mattered.”
Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance had one rail down to finish 38th on 131.6. “She does not have the biggest step, so she does add strides. The only place she does the prescribed amount of strides is through the triple lines, which is a relief! But, oh my gosh, she is all heart, and she jumped amazing today. I am so proud of her.”
Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argouges had one rail down to finish 42nd on 145.7. “(The Olympics) wasn’t quite as I would have liked for it to have gone, but my horse was good,” she said. “I learned a lot, and we’ll be back to fight another day! I think if I would have been a little less nervous on cross country I could have helped my horse out a little bit better.”
Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy had two rails down and three time penalties to finish 44th on 155.4 for Puerto Rico. “Yesterday I was thinking, ‘This is so nerve-wracking; I don’t know if I could do this again,’ And as soon as I got done I was like, ‘OK, we’re coming back! We’re doing it again and we’re hunting for a clean round.’ I feel so inspired and so thankful I got to do this.”
The top 25 will return at 2 p.m. local time/1 p.m. EST to jump in reverse order to determine the individual medals. Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin and Rebecca Howard will all jump in the final round. If you missed any of the action from this morning, click here to catch up in EN’s open thread. Don’t forget to follow our live updates @eventingnation. Here’s the order of go.
We do have a quick update on Lauren Kieffer: She sprained her thumb in her fall with Veronica on cross country yesterday but has no other injuries. Veronica is totally fine, and no major injuries have been reported for any other horses or riders that fell yesterday. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage so far.