Showjumpers land team gold
August 6, 2012 18:33 pm
Great Britain's showjumpers have won gold in the Olympic team competition after a dramatic finale at Greenwich Park.
It was Britain's first Olympic showjumping title for 60 years, and came after the host nation and Holland finished tied after two rounds of jumping.
All four team members - Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles - then rode again in front of a capacity 23,000 crowd. And Skelton (Big Star), Maher (Tripple X III) and Charles (Vindicat) all jumped clear to land gold, leaving Holland with silver, while Saudi Arabia clinched bronze.
The Dutch cracked under pressure in the jump-off phase, with Mikael van der Vleuten and Marc Houtzager both having fences down.
The British team is one that has been transformed since team manager Rob Hoekstra took over in February 2010.
The last time Britain won an Olympic gold medal was at Helsinki in 1952 with a team of Harry Llewellyn, Duggie Stewart and Wilf White and it was the first showjumping medal of any description since a team silver in Los Angeles 28 years ago.
Skelton, 54, Charles, 52, Maher, 29, and Brash, 26, were fancied by many as genuine medal contenders.
But to realise their golden dream amid remarkable, unforgettable scenes on home soil will never never be forgotten and British equestrian is likely to have further medal success on Tuesday when the dressage team of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin go for gold.
The trio are competition leaders ahead of the grand prix special phase.
Skelton said he was more nervous watching his team-mates than riding himself, telling BBC3: "I wish I could have gone four times. They've done great, the lads have done great. Absolutely brilliant. I've got a wonderful horse, wonderful owners, it's a dream come true."
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