September 14, 2002 -- Pamela Geisler and Samantha Smith will proceed to the second round of competition at the World Equestrian Games (WEG). Geisler performed an almost flawless freestyle tonight, and improved her standing to eighth place at the end of Round I. Chef d'equipe Emma Drinker commented, "The level of competition keeps increasing. The talent in every country in the sport of vaulting continues to develop to new highs. Everyone just gets better every year! It's very exciting for the future of our sport."
"The quality and training of the horses is the best I've seen. Quality in the sport overall has risen to a new level", said Ulrike Reider of Germany, author of several books on the sport. Denmark and Australia may be on their way to their first medals at a Vaulting World Championship, in this sport frequently dominated by the German talent.
Samantha Smith will be the American woman to join Geisler in the second round of competition. Smith currently stands in 13th place. Jill Main experienced difficulties in the freestyle this afternoon, and will not be proceeding to the final round.
The men and teams have begun second round competition and the contenders shuffle position for medals. The finals tomorrow will be extraordinarily exciting and spectators can expect standing room only in the venue. American Devon Maitozo finished 4th in the compulsories with Jan Bayer of Germany placing third. Although Maitozo remains slightly ahead of Bayer going into the final day of competition, his very narrow lead was closed even tighter. A medal for the United States remains a strong possibility, as Maitozo's freestyle is his strongest event. Erik Martonovich placed 14th, which will cause his current standing (7th) to fall overall. In the team division, the American team's second round of Compulsories improved their standing from 6th to 5th.
With the compulsories completed for the teams and men, artistry and creativity will rule the last day of competition. As always, the performance of the horse will be the critical factor when the day is finished. If the horses go well, only then will vaulters have an opportunity to show the visual poetry the sport has become famous for. Even spectators viewing vaulting for the first time, quickly developed an appreciation for the unique combination of gymnastics and dance movements in partnership with the cantering horse. The only guarantee for the final day is that every spectator will be a winner.
The American Vaulting Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for the education and promotion of vaulting. Vaulting is the sport of gymnastics on and in harmony with the equine partner. For more information about vaulting please visit our website at www.americanvaulting.org.