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Severson Takes the Podium: Bettina Hoy Wins Gold; Leslie Law Takes Silver
At their first Olympic Games, the U.S.'s Kimberly Severson and Winsome Adante stood in third place going into the second round of show jumping that would decide the individual medals. They hung onto that position, dropping one rail to win an individual bronze medal on a final score of 45.2. What a difference a year makes-just 12 months ago Dan was undergoing colic surgery in England, where he and Kim had been ready to compete in the Burghley CCI****, and Kim was back in the saddle after breaking a leg in a fall that occurred last April.
The surprise of the day was Nicolas Touzaint and Galan de Sauvagere, who were perched for a gold medal finish, with two rails in hand. That was two rails too little, as the pair knocked four fences, for 16 jumping faults, and also had three time penalties to add insult to injury. They plunged in the final standings, finishing in ninth place.
This allowed Germany's Bettina Hoy and Ringwood's Cockatoo (who dropped one rail and had two time penalties) to swoop into the gold medal slot with 41.6. Great Britain's Leslie Law and Shear L' Eau performed a bit of alchemy, their double clear round transforming their fifth place standing into a silver medal, on a score of 44.4.
Darren Chiacchia with Windfall, and Amy Tryon with Poggio II were other two U.S. riders to make it into the final show jumping competition (the top 25 individual finishers in the team competition qualified for the second show jumping competition, which decided the individual medals). Darren and Windfall dropped two rails, staying in 12th place. Amy and Poggi win the award for most improved. After dressage the pair stood in 29th place, but just 1.2 time penalties on cross-country and two (yes two) double clear show jumping rounds shot them up the standings to finish in seventh place with 51.8. The trip to Athens was certainly worthwhile for the Duvall, Washington firefighter and former packhorse.
For more news from the Games, visit www.athens2004.com and click on Equestrian on the right side of the page.