November 19, 2013 -- American sisters Cassidy (20) and Kimberly (18) Palmer secured a pas de deux victory at the FEI World Cup? Vaulting 2013/2014 leg at the Stuttgart German Masters.
From Half Moon Bay in California, the sisters vaulted to the first American win in FEI World Cup? Vaulting history.
Dressed in black and performing with the 15-year-old W?rttemberger bay Leon, lunged by the successful German Vaulting coach Wolfgang Renz, their score of 7.818 put them out of reach on the top step of the podium. The other three pas de deux pairs landed far behind the winning ladies, who embraced beaming after the second and final round.
The two Palmer girls gave an outstanding display of Vaulting art at Stuttgart, the second of five qualification legs in this year's FEI World Cup? Vaulting series and the only one to hold solely pas de deux competition. The sisters' winning performance earned them 15 points towards qualification for the FEI World Cup? Vaulting Final in Bordeaux (FRA) in February 2014.
Cassidy and Kimberly Palmer, who will stay in Europe to compete in the entire FEI World Cup? Vaulting series, went to Germany just one week before the competition in Stuttgart. The pair, who compete exclusively in pas de deux, had already worked with Wolfgang Renz at the CVI in Saumur (FRA) in April and at the CHIO in Aachen (GER) so it was not a big problem to get the feeling for Leon again, despite the short preparation time.
Their hard work at home training together with their coach Carolyn Bland has obviously paid off. Their clear and artistically streamlined choreography was accompanied by modern dance music with a strong beat, but the experienced Leon remained calm throughout with an excellent canter stride.
"We had two very nice rounds in an amazing arena. It was a super start and hopefully brought a lot of self-confidence to the girls," a very proud Wolfgang Renz said afterwards.
"We are very happy to start with that victory, it's a big step and an absolute highlight in our career," the sisters said.
The pair earned their place in the FEI World Cup? Vaulting series having finished ninth after the summer qualification, and their Stuttgart victory gives them a good chance to make it to the Bordeaux Final for the four best pas de deux. The next qualifiers for them are Paris-Villepinte (FRA) at the end of the month and Salzburg (AUT) from 5-8 December. "But maybe we also go to Leipzig, which is definitely the most prestigious FEI World Cup leg," said Renz.
The other three pas de deux were competing with wild cards and were therefore not eligible for points, but with a score of 6.858 Erika Di Forti and Lorenzo Lupacchini (both 17) from Italy, lunged by Sabrina Leypold on Allegro, were thrilled with second place. The Italian pas de deux champions of 2010 and 2011, who have trained together for the past three years, were in third place after the first round but improved to move up to second in the final. Third place, on a score of 4.982, went to Germany's Lisa Saur and Lena-Sophie Megerle, also on Allegro lunged by Sabrina Leypold.
FEI World Cup? Vaulting 2013/2014 - Detailed Stuttgart results are available here
FEI World Cup? Vaulting 2013/2014 Calendar
Munich (GER) 31 October - 3 November 2013
Stuttgart (GER) 13-17 November 2013
Paris-Villepinte (FRA) 29-30 November 2013
Salzburg (AUT) 5-8 December 2013
Leipzig (GER) 16-19 January 2014
FEI World Cup? Vaulting 2013/2014 Final - Bordeaux (FRA) 7-8 February 2014