McDonald, Dover still in contention

Updated: August 23, 2004, 8:26 AM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, moved into contention for an individual dressage medal on Monday with an energetic, fault-free round on Brentina that scored 74.840 percent.

The ride moved her from fifth after the team competition on Saturday to fourth overall, with an average for the two days of 74.067 percent.

"I'm staying in the hunt,'' said McDonald. "It's a long shot, but I'm not giving up.''

The United States hasn't won a medal in individual dressage since 1932.

The Americans had three steady rides in the individual competition on Monday, outscoring Germany across the board. Their scores were better than the ones they posted on Saturday, when the Americans took bronze behind Germany and Spain in the team competition. Germany has won the team gold in every Olympics since 1976, except the boycott year of 1980.

The individual medals will be decided by a combined total from the Grand Prix team test, the Grand Prix Special on Monday, plus the musical freestyle on Wednesday.

German Ulla Salzgeber on Rusty still led the competition, but they made several mistakes and scored 74.840 percent to tighten the standings. Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands earned 77.8 percent on Salinero and was second overall with 76.004 percent.

Next was Beatriz Ferrer-Salat of Spain on Beauvalais, scoring 75.760 percent.

Robert Dover of Lebanon, N.J. scored 74.04 percent on Kennedy to move up from ninth to sixth with an overall percentage of 72.833.

"That ride was fun,'' Dover said. "Every day I've learned how much trust I can have in him.''

Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, Calif., also moved into the top 15 that will compete on Wednesday, earning 71.04 percent on Aragon and a two-day average of 70.27 to move from 16th to 14th overall.

Seidel said his goal today was to reach the freestyle round.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press