In what should be described as a Herculean effort, Team USA brought their best to Athens to bring home a medal – and they certainly did not disappoint anyone. The team composed of Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, riding the mare Brentina; Robert Dover of Lebanon, N.J., on FBW Kennedy; Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, Calif., on the young and promising Aragon; and Lisa Wilcox, a Los Angeles native residing in Germany on the stallion Relevant, stood on the medal podium and proudly received their Bronze Team medal.
It was a tough competition, with the powerhouse German Team and their undeniable national dressage heritage taking the Gold with an average score of 74.653; an ever-improving Spanish Team taking the Silver (72.917); and a determined U.S. Team bring home the Bronze (71.500).
“It’s been a tough year for everyone," observed Debbie McDonald. "You hope everyone stays healthy and sound and it’s been a tough year for the U.S. Team in that regard, trying to get our team strong and healthy to this point hasn’t been 100% easy. I think if we can come home with a medal, I think we’d feel really good about that this year,” said McDonald.
On his Bronze medal Team victory, six-time Olympic veterann Dover said, “We are always happy to have any medal. We’re excited to show that we are in the top three in the world. We are proud of our team.”
Dressage competition resumes Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. at the Markopoulo Equestrian Center. The athletes, both human and equine, will now continue to the next phase of competition for the individual medals in the Grand Prix Special.
EVENTING TEAM WINS BRONZE: Statement from David O’Connor, President of the United States Equestrian Federation, On the Decision from The Court of Arbitration for Sport Regarding the Eventing Stadium Jumping Competition on Wednesday, August 18th
Today the Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted the appeal of the National Olympic Committees of France, Great Britain and the United States on the Eventing competition of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Consequently, France earns the team gold medal, Great Britain the silver, and the United States the bronze. Leslie Law of Great Britain is the new individual Olympic gold medal winner; Kim Severson of the United States wins the silver medal; Pippa Funnel of Great Britain wins the bronze medal.
The following is a statement from David O'Connor President of the United States Equestrian Federation :
The United States Equestrian Federation is satisfied with the decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and believes it is the correct outcome, maintaining the integrity of our sport. The entire affair is a very unfortunate situation for all the countries involved, but most especially for our athletes.
Everyone at the USEF feels badly for the German team and especially for Bettina Hoy, because no one wins in a situation such as this.
We are very appreciative of the support given us by the United States Olympic Committee who have made every effort to help us protect our athletes, and of the quick action by CAS in hearing this case and bringing it to a rapid resolution.
It is unfortunate that the situation escalated to this level, it should have been resolved as a field of play issue, which it originally was if the ruling by the Ground Jury had been upheld. It is our hope that as a result of this controversy the FEI (Federation Equestre International) will reevaluate how they will handle situations such as these in the future. A more open and inclusive appeals process could have avoided the controversy and dissatisfaction created by Wednesday evening’s events.