September 16, 2002 -- The United States
Eventing Team has won the Gold Medal in a nail- biting competition on
Sunday at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
with a final team score of 175.40 penalties. France moved up to win
Silver with a score of 192.40 and the team from Great Britain won the
bronze with a score of 199.00. The 2002 Olympic Team Gold Medalists
Australia finished just out of the medals on 199.40.
U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and Team Captain David O'Connor of The
Plains, VA riding Giltedge, owned by Jacqueline Mars, Christa Badger and
Jonathan Ireland, had the only clear show jumping round for the team.
That was impressive, since only eight out of the 47 that competed went
clear. He ended up with a score of 64.60 penalties in tenth place.
"I had to really fight for it," said O'Connor. "The clear did not come
easy, but it was nice to have it end this way because it will be the
last world Championship for Tex (Giltedge). The whole week was great
and all the riders were fantastic."
Amy Tryon of Redmond, WA riding Poggio II showed true team spirit by
participating in the final phase following a fall in cross-country that
left her a bit sore. However, she did not show her pain, having only
one rail down and giving the team a good head start as the first U.S.
rider for the day.
"I was sore," said Tryon. "I was a little disappointed about yesterday,
but I wanted to ride for the team because that's what being a part of a
team is about. It's helping them when they need it and them helping you
when you are down."
By the time Kim (Vinoski) Severson of Scottsville, VA riding Winsome
Adante owned by Linda Wachmeister and Plain Dealing Farm, went into the
arena, the fate of the Australians and the British teams were already
sealed. France still needed its anchor rider, Jean Teulere, to finish
in order to receive a team score, but if Teulere did well, they could
win it all. Severson knew there was some margin for error, but she also
knew that John Williams still had to go.
Severson knocked three rails down, but kept her in fifth place with a
score of 57.80 and more importantly, kept the U.S. team in the game.
Although Severson was disappointed with the twelve penalties, she was
pleased with her performance.
"I was very happy with my horse," said Severson. "It was not the round I
was hoping for - the ring made him anxious, like it did in dressage, but
he was OK. I learned a lot about being on a team here and I can't
imagine it being any better than this."
John Williams and Carrick entered the ring with more pressure than
anyone should have at their first World Championship. As the leader,
the Middleburg, VA resident performed last. If he had too many rails
down, the U.S. would lose the gold medal and he would lose his
individual championship. The pair had two rails in hand, but on a
course with sixteen efforts, it was not an easy task.
Unfortunately, Williams had four rails incurring sixteen faults and
dropping him to fourth place with a score of 53.00, but it was good
enough to give the United States Equestrian Team their Gold.
"I'm delighted," said Williams. "My horse tried so hard, we had two
bogie fences, but other than those, he tried really hard. The last four
weeks was a new experience for me and being part of the team where
everyone got along so well was great."
David O' Connor had some sympathy for Williams, but reminded them of him
of their great fortune.
"I had to wait sixteen years for this team Gold, and they get it on
their first shot."
Chef d' equipe Captain Mark Phillips agreed.
"We came here to try and win the team competition and with
this great group of horses and riders we did it, mission accomplished."
Jean Teulere of France won the Individual Gold Medal with a
score of 45.80, Jeanette Brakewell of Great Britain took the Silver with
a score of 52.00 and the Bronze went to Pia Pantsu of Finland with a
score of 52.60.
Comprehensive coverage of all World Equestrian Games competition is
available on the USET website at www.uset.org.
The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that
selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible
standard to represent our country in major international competition,
including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish
this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented
athletes - riders, drivers, vaulters and horses - and provides the
support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest
potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908)
234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.