Skelton to jump for double gold
August 7, 2012 15:51 pm
Nick Skelton will bid for double Olympic equestrian showjumping gold on Wednesday hailed as "the best in the business".
David Broome twice went close to winning Olympic individual titles, taking bronze in Rome (1960) and then Mexico eight years later. And he was among a capacity Greenwich Park crowd on Monday when Skelton, Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles landed British showjumping's first Olympic gold for 60 years.
Skelton, Maher and Brash will all contest Wednesday's individual final, with Skelton the bookmakers' clear favourite being the only showjumper competing in the Games who has yet to have a fence down over four rounds of jumping.
Skelton, 54, and his brilliant nine-year-old stallion Big Star will now bid to become the first rider since German Ulrich Kirchhoff 16 years ago to win team and individual golds at the same Olympics.
No British showjumper has won an Olympic individual gold medal, with silvers for Marion Coakes in 1968 and Ann Moore four years later the best performances. However, Broome believes Skelton has set a blistering standard over the last few days of competition that has deservedly left him in pole position to make British Olympic history.
"The man to beat is Nick," Broome said. "He is going like an absolute star at the moment, and I hope and pray everything goes right for him tomorrow. He is the best in the business at the moment."
Broome, a British Showjumping ambassador, has played a key role in helping to establish the Olympic horsepower for the British team. When Hello Sanctos was bought for Brash last December by Lord and Lady Kirkham and Lord and Lady Harris, it was Broome who travelled abroad with the young Scotsman to assess the horse.
And he is fulsome in his praise for all the owners who have resisted huge sums of money - including a reputed £6million-plus for Big Star - to keep their horses with British Olympic riders.
"At the end of the day, you can have all the theories in the world, but what makes the difference is that owners of very good horses have been prepared to keep them for the team," he added.
"At that is being seen with the riders' performances. Ben rode like a star. The horse (Tripple X III) is jumping better and better, as is Scott's, and it was great for Peter with that final round that clinched the gold medal."
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