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JUMPING--Individual Competition

Qualifying and Finals
The first round started with 45 and narrowed down to to the top 20 and ties.  There were 10 clear rounds and a bunch of ties.
Some excellent jumping over a course that was increased in size for the finals.
Irelands O'Conner, the twenty-something that was appearing in his first Olympics, however had competed in more than 30 Nations Cups events, won the gold on his Holsteiner, Waterford Crystal.  Somewhat of a surprise winner.
R. Pessoa, "the disappointment" in 2000 (he had been cleaning up Internationally for a year and a half for Brazil and then his horse refused out in the Olympics) redeemed himself by making the finals, and then winning the silver--losing the gold (or actually a jump-off) only by time penalties. 
   Unfortunately, the jump-off he won was due to the bronze horse going lame in the middle of the course--see Chris Kappler below.
Nick Shelton of GB was a sentimental favorite, since he broke his neck in an accident in 2000.  After doctors said he should not ever ride again, all traces of the break disappeared and he was back in the saddle for his country this year.  He made the finals.  As he said, he "sees life a little differently"now--however evidently still has that competitive edge and ability.  Finished twelfth.
Chris Kappler, who was allowed to skip the trials (US) for the Olympics based on his past two years performance, and Pessoa had to have a jump-off for silver and bronze.
Pessoa had 4 faults with a rail down.  Kappler was on course in the jump-off, towards the end of the course, and his horse seemed to trip or hit himself on a landing--anyway, he pulled up lame, and so Kappler had to settle for the bronze.  Still the first medal since 1992 for the US.  Last word was that the horse walked into the vet trailer just fine.
"Biggest disappointment" of the show had to be the only rider that had 3 clear rounds going into the Individual Prelims--Beezie Patton of the US on Authentic--a huge favorite after "doing her part" in the team to win Silver, not even making the finals cut.  She had 3 rails down for 12 penalties, and the cut-off was 10 or 11.  She did not look pleased as she emerged from the ring, as she clearly knew she and her horse had had a below average performance.  Her DW is only 9, and so they should be back.
Ian Miller, "the oldest competitor at the Olympics at age 57" (okay, okay--we know it sells, however....)  In all fairness, the commentators noted Miller's classic and smooth style of riding, and were extremely complimentary of his skills, and the name Big Ben continues to be mentioned as one of the top horses in the history of show jumping.  Ian Miller finished the finals with his standard quiet and balanced ride.
Biggest surprise--kind of--might have been the Korean team...they had two riders make the finals.
"Kind of" since this team is coached by the legendary show jumper Schumacher from Germany...and clearly he is making it clear that his ability as an international coach is as capable as his actual ability in the ring.
Only the last 6-7 rides of the finals were provided by NBC tv coverage in their "prime time" coverage (boo, hiss, whistle in Eur).  However, overall, we have to give them high marks for the amount of coverage and commentary provided.  One of the benefits of cable TV expansion!
UNTIL 2008!

SILVER  Brazil BRA PESSOA Rodrigo  BALOUBET DU ROUET 8 8 8 4 49.42
Germany GER KUTSCHER Marco  MONTENDER 4 4 9    
Great Britain GBR SMITH Robert  MR SPRINGFIELD 8 8 12    
Belgium BEL DEMEERSMAN Dirk  CLINTON 8 8 12    
Ireland IRL BABINGTON Kevin  CARLING KING 8 8 12    
Sweden SWE BENGTSSON Rolf-Goran  MAC KINLEY 8 8 12    
Belgium BEL PHILIPPAERTS Ludo  PARCO 4 4 12    
11  Denmark DEN VELIN Thomas  CARNUTE 4 4 13    
11  Great Britain GBR SKELTON Nick  ARKO III 0 0 13    
13  New Zealand NZL MEECH Daniel  DIAGONAL 1 1 14    
14  Switzerland SUI LIEBHERR Christina  NO MERCY 8 8 17    
15  South Korea KOR SOHN Bong-Gak  CIM CHRISTO 5 5 18    
16  Japan JPN SUGITANI Taizo  LAMALUSHI 8 8 20    
16  Italy ITA GARCIA Juan Carlos  ALBIN III 8 8 20    
16  Germany GER BEERBAUM Ludger  GOLDFEVER 8 8 20    
19  Germany GER BECKER Otto  CENTO 8 8 21    
19  Great Britain GBR KUERTEN Jessica  CASTLE FORBES MAIKE 0 0 21    
21  Italy ITA CHIMIRRI Bruno  LANDKNECHT 6 6 23    
22  South Korea KOR HWANG Soon-Won  C.CHAP 8 8 24    
23  Argentina ARG DOPAZO Martin  FURKA DU VILLAGE 8 8 25    
24  Canada CAN MILLAR Ian  PROMISE ME 8 8 30    
  South Korea KOR JOO Jung-Hyun  EPSOM GESMERAY 8 8      
  Italy ITA CHIMIRRI Vincenzo  DELFI PLATIERE 8 8      
  Brazil BRA MIRANDA NETO Alvaro  COUNTDOWN 23 8 8      
  Netherlands NED SCHRODER Wim  MONTREAL 4 4      
  United States USA WARD McLain  SAPPHIRE 8 8      
  Poland POL KUBIAK Grzegorz  DJANE DES FONTENIS 24 24      
  Saudi Arabia KSA BAHAMDAN Kamal  CASITA 25 25      
  Brazil BRA DINIZ-KNIPPLING Luciana  MARIACHI 20 20      
  New Zealand NZL CASHMORE Grant  FRANKLINS FLYTE 20 20      
  Russia RUS TUGANOV Vladimir  LEROY BROWN 13 13      
  Bulgaria BUL RAITCHEV Rossen  MEDOC II 21 21      
  Japan JPN WATANABE Yuka  NIKE 17 17      
  Switzerland SUI FUCHS Markus  TINKA'S BOY          
  Switzerland SUI CROTTA Fabio  MME POMPADOUR M 16 16      
  Belgium BEL LANSINK Jos  CUMANO 12 12      
  France FRA ANGOT Florian  FIRST DE LAUNAY 20 20      
  Netherlands NED VAN ASTEN Leopold  FLECHE ROUGE 12 12      
  Sweden SWE BARYARD Malin  BUTTERFLY FLIP 12 12      
  Greece GRE PETRIS Antonis  GREDO LA DAVIERE 16 16      
  France FRA ANGOT Eugenie  CIGALE DU TAILLIS 16 16      
  Netherlands NED BRUGGINK Gert-Jan  JOEL 12 12      
  United States USA MADDEN Beezie  AUTHENTIC 12 12  

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