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The Americans forced a jump-off

8/24/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Germany made it a three-peat in team show
jumping.

The Germans on Tuesday clinched their third equestrian team gold
in as many Olympics -- even before their last rider finished with
eight total faults -- followed by the United States and Sweden for
silver and bronze.

Five teams were hoping for their last riders to jump clean to
win the silver, with U.S. hopes riding on Beezie Madden and
Authentic. Madden, of Syracuse, N.Y., came flying through, tying
for silver with Sweden at 20 faults each and forcing the jump-off.

Madden's teammates flew as well, with three clean rounds to
match three from Sweden, but in a faster total time. The Americans
saved precious seconds by cutting across decorative stones that
were supposed to be circled, and Sweden caught on to the shortcut
too late to catch up.

The team event involved two regular rounds of jumping, the first
one held Tuesday morning. The three best scores from each team in
each separate round counted toward the final team score.

The United States was tied with the Netherlands for second after
the morning session with eight faults, while Germany led at that
point with four faults.

Earlier in the second round, Chris Kappler of Pittstown, N.J.,
had one rail down on Royal Kaliber for four faults, while McLain
Ward of Brewster, N.Y. dropped two rails on Sapphire for eight
faults.

The U.S. team started the evening with a 12-fault round from
Peter Wylde, who lives in the Netherlands, on Fein Cera.

"It's just not happening for me today, and I can't say why,"
Wylde said.

The team competition also served as a qualifier for Friday's
individual competition, when 45 of the 75 riders who started
Wednesday will move forward. International Olympic Committee rules
allow only three riders from one team to compete, so Wylde will
have to sit out.

Two horses, one from France and the other from Argentina,
suffered strained tendons in the first round of competition and
were taken from the field in a trailer.