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Faces and feelings in the Olympic team final in Tokyo

Sunday, 08 August 2021
Tokyo Olympic Games

The Olympic team final in Tokyo of course brought with it a lot of feelings, with all its up and downs. As the ten qualified nations started on a zero-penalty score, it was all to play for – but in the end it was the best and most consistent team over the four days of competition that won the gold medal. 

We look back at the team final, starting with Laura Kraut who delivered an incredible double clear for the USA with the 11-year-old Baloutinue – a horse she has only been riding since April, and that has been produced to Grand Prix level by her compatriot Adam Prudent. 

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. No reproduction of these images is permitted. 

Sweden's Henrik von Eckermann with all the emotions after jumping his 5th clear round in a row in Tokyo with King Edward, who took it all with the greatest ease...

Brazil's Marlon Modolo Zanotelli's face says it all: His round was not as he wanted it to be. Two poles and a mistake on the water jump was the end result for him and the lovely Edgard M, that both have done great in Tokyo. 

These two! Coming in as reserves on the French team for Friday's team qualifier, Simon Delestre and the lovely Berlux Z really delivered with only one time penalty in each round. 

Pieter Devos and Claire Z also came in from the sideline for Belgium and really delivered, helping the team to bronze with two superb rounds. 

Seriously impressed with Dutch rider Harrie Smolders who was put in on the team for the last round only with Bingo du Parc and delivered a clear round! Crazy good riding from the former world no. one!

Always good team spirit among the Dutch riders!

It was not Great Britain's day with sixteen faults for Holly Smith and two down for Harry Charles, which made the Brits take the decision to pull out their Olympic Champions Ben Maher and Explosion W from the team competition – a very sensible conclusion under the circumstances. 

After a rocky start to the Games, French rider Mathieu Billot finished off great – recording only a time penalty with Quel Filou 13, that has a bit of his own style. Together with Simon Delestre’s performance, this put the defending team champions France into the battle for the medals. 

Jessica Springsteen had a great Olympic debut for USA with Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, helping take home the silver medal. 

Jerome Guery and Quel Homme de Hus have an incredible partnership, and the two have really delivered during these Olympic Games. With their clear round today, they helped Belgium to the bronze medal. 

When Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Indiana had their first pole down at these Games at the middle element of the triple combination, things really got heated... Suddenly, France was in the lead on two penalties followed by Sweden, USA and Belgium on four faults. 

The Swiss for sure had higher expectations than to finish fifth on 28 penalties, but for Steve Guerdat it ended on a good note with Venard de Cerisy jumping a nice round on only four faults – improving throughout the Games. 

For Germany, it did not go as planned with their anchor rider Daniel Deusser who very wisely chose to withdraw Killer Queen after a miscommunication in the triple combination – which meant game over for the team. For sure not a decision that was taken lightly, but the right one.

The Dutch did not have their best day, and finished on a score of seventeen penalties – still it was good enough for fourth place. 

The US tactics with putting on a fresh and rested Contagious with Mclain Ward in the saddle for the team competitions paid off. The team finished with the silver medal, and in the jump-off the pair was the fastest of the Americans.

This changed the scenery of the final: Peder Fredricson and All In were clear all the way to the last Paris 2024 upright, which the gelding had down with his hindlegs – tying Sweden with the US team on eight faults after the first round....

...and when France's Penelope Leprevost and Vancouver de Lanlore were eliminated after two refusals in the combination at no. three, Sweden and USA had to jump off for the gold.

In the jump-off, Peder Fredricson sealed the deal for Sweden as last to go – delivering the fastest time, and helping his team to the gold medal they so deserved by a total difference of 1.3 seconds. 

A happy and relieved Swedish team: Henrik von Eckermann, Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson.

Laura Kraut with Baloutinue, Jessica Springsteen with Don Juan van de Donkhoeve and Mclain Ward with Contagious brought the silver home to USA.

The Belgian boys with their bronze medals: Jerome Guery and Quel Homme de Hus, Pieter Devos and Claire Z as well as Gregory Wathelet and Nevados S.

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