United States Out of The Medals In Individual Show Jumping
Rich Fellers and Flexible fly closest with a top-10 finish
August 9, 2012
LONDON U.K. - The United States lost its last chance at an Olympic medal when McLain Ward and Rich Fellers finished out of the money in the individual jumping competition today.
Ward had 12 penalties in the first round with Antares, missing the cut for the second round and finishing tied for 29th overall. Fellers had a rail and a time penalty with Flexible in the first round, for which 37 riders qualified. However, he had a masterful fault-free trip in the second round, contested by 22 riders. He finished eighth overall in his first Games.
While many horses in the individual finals seemed tired, Flexible was his usual bright self.
"I expected him to feel a little fatigued, but he did that pretty easily. He did that as easily as he's jumped any massive grand prix," said Fellers, whose next goal is defending his 2012 FEI World Cup Finals title.
This long-anticipated Olympics was a tough competition for the U.S. team, which had won the two previous team gold medals in 2004 and 2008.
"We will go home and rebuild," said Ward. "We will keep working on it and developing other horses for the future to just try and get better."
The individual show jumping gold medal went to Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, who came into the competition in 11th place and had two clean rounds on Nino Des Buissonets over big and challenging courses designed by Great Britain's Bob Ellis.
"I knew I always had the horse that could jump anything. If I ride good, then I can win anything," said Guerdat.
There was a jump-off for the silver between Ireland's Cian O'Connor on Blue Loyd and the Netherlands' Gerco Schroeder aboard a horse named London that he obviously had pointed for this competition.
Schroeder jumped clean and O'Connor was clear and faster until the last fence, where he dropped a rail to let the Dutchman claim the silver.
Nick Skelton of the gold-medal British team was favored to take the gold, but he wound up fifth after dropping a rail in the second round of the individual with Big Star.
"We expected to win, and it wasn't to be," he said after disappointing the home crowd.
Ellis said "the standard of riding has been fantastic."
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