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 Will Simpson, 2008 Olympic Gold Medal Winner pictured below riding Atem

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Olympic gold for US Jumper Team

 

U.S. wins gold after jump-off

By The Associated Press
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008 7:16 AM ET

HONG KONG (AP) - The United States won the Olympic equestrian gold medal in team show jumping Monday in a timed jumpoff against its northern neighbor Canada.

The U.S. was tied for first with Switzerland after the first round Sunday, with Canada tied for fourth. But Mac CONE's mount Ole was hurt in the Sunday round, leaving Canada with only three riders on Monday, meaning it was not able to drop its worst score.The Canadians had two clears and one four-fault ride in the main round. Their anchor was Ian Millar, 61, riding in his ninth Olympics. His experience gave a smooth ride to In Style and no faults, forcing the jumpoff. Laura Kraut had the only clear ride on Cedric for the U.S. in the main round, leading her team into the jumpoff where she also went clear. The U.S. and Canada both finished that round with 20 faults. Norway took bronze with 27 faults. "Each night here he and I have both gotten more relaxed," said Kraut, who rode Cedric. "He always has energy. He's really smart and always tries." Canadian Eric Lamaze went clear in the jumpoff. "You do what you can in a situation like that," said Lamaze. "We've pulled it together and we're a good team." The first three U.S. riders all had clean rounds in the jumpoff, while one Canadian rider dropped a rail. In the main round, U.S. riders McLain Ward had four faults on Sapphire, Will Simpson had eight faults on Carlsson vom Dach, while Beezie Madden also had four faults on Authentic. Ward and Madden also won team gold on the same horses in 2004 in Athens. The heavily favored German team was never a factor in the competition and finished fifth with 34 faults. Last week the Germans won three golds in equestrian eventing and dressage. In addition to Millar, Jill HENSELWOOD went clear for Canada in the main round on Special Ed although she dropped a rail in the jumpoff. Lamaze had four faults in the main round on Hickstead. The team competition also served as a qualifying competition for the individual competition, which will be held Thursday. The top 35 riders after the team competition will go forward for individual medals. Edwina ALEXANDER of Australia, riding Itot du Chateau, was the only rider to have clear rounds on both Sunday and Monday, making her the early favorite for individual gold. Besides Kraut, Millar and Henselwood, the only other rider with a fault-free round Monday before the jumpoff was Ben MAHER of Britain on Rolette. Four riders compete for each team with the best three rounds to count. When a fence is knocked down, the horse steps in the water jump or refuses a fence, it counts four faults. There are also penalties for exceeding the time limit. During the warm-up for the second round Monday, Australian rider Peter McMahon broke his collarbone, when his horse Genoa stumbled while jumping over a fence and McMahon was flung off. He was treated and released from the hospital. Australia finished ninth with only three riders. The equestrian events are being held in Hong Kong due to quarantine restrictions in mainland China.

 

http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/aug/19/to-man-realizes-a-dream/

Will Simpson wins gold at Olympics in team

                       show jumping

T.O. man realizes a dream

Will Simpson rides Carlsson vom Dach in Olympic competition Monday.

Photo by Kin Cheung
AP

Will Simpson rides Carlsson vom Dach in Olympic competition Monday.

Will Simpson on Carlsson vom Dach acknowledges the crowd after winning the gold medal in the equestrian team show jumping competition at the Beijing Olympics in Hong Kong on Monday.

Photo by Kin Cheung
AP

Will Simpson on Carlsson vom Dach acknowledges the crowd after winning the gold medal in the equestrian team show jumping competition at the Beijing Olympics in Hong Kong on Monday.

Olympics 2008


Check our special site for coverage of the summer games and our local athletes that are competing.There were no chest bumps on the course at the Olympic equestrian venue.No climbing over the rail to chase after Thousand Oaks' Will Simpson, 49, after his gold-medal-clinching ride.Winning the first jump-off in Olympic Games history, the United States broke a tie with Canada to win the team show jumping title in Hong Kong on Monday."Our sport doesn't have that impromptu response," said Eva Gonda, daughter of the owners of Thousand Oaks-based El Campeon Farms. Simpson rides out of El Campeon."Maybe it should."The United States and Canada ended the two rounds of regulation competition tied with 20 penalties. After the first two rides in the jump-off, Canada had one penalty point, while the Americans had two clear rides.Simpson's perfect ride in 38.45 seconds — the third-fastest time in the jump-off — sealed the victory. There was no reason for the third Canadian rider — nine-time Olympian Ian Millar — to mount his horse.Other members of the gold-medal team were McLain Ward, Laura Kraut and Beezie Madden.Individually, Simpson tied for 18th with 16 penalty points, fourth among the Americans — one point behind Madden."He's over the moon," said Gonda, who traveled with Simpson and groomsman Rogelio Solis to Hong Kong."To be a gold medalist transcends whatever one does in a career," Gonda said. "He will always be a gold medalist. No one can take that away from him."Winning the title outright was special for the U.S. team, which was declared the 2004 Olympic champion after Germany was disqualified because one of its horses tested positive for a banned substance."It was great that the team achieved it without controversy," said Gonda. "It was good for the sport. It is emblematic of a great team when they support each other and pull through when needed."Ward proclaimed the victory as "probably the greatest day for North America in the history of the sport," he told EquiSearch.com.The Olympic Games proved to be a perfect end to a remarkable year for Simpson.Primarily riding Carlsson vom Dach, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding purchased by El Campeon Farms in March 2007, Simpson won the 2008 Zada Enterprises Masters Cup, the LLC Masters Cup and the WEF Challenge, and was second in the Samsung Super League in Rome.Throughout the equestrian competition, the Thousand Oaks office of El Campeon Farms has been flooded with phone calls from veterinarians and equestrians throughout Ventura County asking for scheduled Olympic start times."Most of my day on Friday was spent e-mailing schedules," said breeding and barn manager Michelle Sulkoske.Sulkoske was awake in the early hours of Monday watching the team final."I was a little choked up watching him," she said. "I know he was happy to make it clear with a good time in the jump-off. It was a dream come true for him."Simpson has never failed to show his appreciation of work behind the scenes by El Campeon employees to make sure that care and transportation of horses to and from venues throughout the country and Europe are completed without a hitch."We've all gone through this, from buying the horse to going through the trials," said Sulkoske. "I know it's a dream come true for Rogelio, who has been a groomsman for 12 years."We're all a team."Deep down, Sulkoske said, employees and friends alike knew that Simpson would have a successful Olympics."He's very good at what he does," she said. Simpson's horse, Carlsson vom Dach, "is not the easiest to get around."On the sport's biggest stage, they proved to be the perfect pair for a perfect ride.

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