The Americans forced a jump-off
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.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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