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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.