Individual Show Jumping Wraps Up at Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games show jumping competition came to a climatic close at Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center on Friday, ending in a jump-off to determine the Individual medals. With two clear rounds, Kent Farrington and Voyeur earned a spot in the jump-off for the U.S. along with five other combinations. Farrington and Voyeur ultimately placed fifth overall following two rails down. Teammates McLain Ward and Azur finished tied for ninth and Lucy Davis with Barron completed their Olympic debut with 12 faults in Round A.
The Individual Final consisted of two rounds; the first round included the top 35 competitors from the week’s three qualifying rounds. The top 20, including those tied for 20th, advanced to the second round. Overall, 27 combinations representing 15 countries returned for the second round to compete for the Individual medals. Show jumping enthusiasts witnessed a historic moment when Great Britain’s 58-year-old veteran Nick Skelton won the Gold medal aboard Big Star. This marked Skelton’s first Individual medal in his seventh Games appearance. Peder Fredricson of Sweden won Silver with All In and Canada’s Eric Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Individual Gold medalist, took home the Bronze with Fine Lady 5.
Wrapping up his Olympic debut in style, Farrington aboard Amalaya Investments’ 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Voyeur, was composed in his quest for an Individual medal. Farrington skillfully piloted Voyeur around Guilherme Jorge’s large courses, leaving all the jumps up and adding two more foot perfect performances to their week in which the pair’s only fault came as a time fault in round two of team competition. They finished the individual rounds as one of six combinations with zero faults. Voyeur and Farrington dropped their first rails of the Games in the jump-off, ending their medal hopes. Finishing fifth overall individually, Farrington will return home with a Team Silver. “Any time you go to a championship and leave with a medal it has to be considered a good championship. Because so many things can go wrong, it’s very easy to come all this way and jump a lot of jumps and leave with nothing. To leave with a Silver is great. I thought he [Voyeur] jumped great all week and to be in contention to win it in the end was obviously awesome. It didn’t go our way, but we’ll be back at it next time.”
Ward, riding Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, also started the day with determination. In the first round, Azur’s long stride carried them a bit deep to the third fence of the triple combination, resulting in the top rail falling for four faults, which still left them among those qualified for the second round. Ward and Azur returned to produce a clear second round with Ward showing the same professionalism and clutch riding that helped clinch the Team Silver on Wednesday. With six double-clears and two others on only time faults ahead of them, the pair finished tied for ninth place overall. “I thought [Azur] jumped brilliantly,” said Ward. “I personally think the first course was really suited to the small horses, the horses that like to add strides, but that’s the test and we have to answer that test. I’m thrilled with the horse, although disappointed with the day.”
Davis, at age 23, was the youngest rider in the competition. She completed her first Olympics with Old Oaks Farm’s Barron, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, with twelve faults in the first round. They did not move forward to the second round. “It was the fourth round under pressure and the big jumps and overall fatigue all played a part,” said Davis. “My horse is very sensitive, and I think he feels not only the physical fatigue but also all the stress gets to him as well, and he needed my help today a bit more than I gave him. So I definitely take responsibility for those rails.”
The U.S. finished the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as one of only two countries (together with Germany) to win medals in all three disciplines, finishing with Team Silver in show jumping, Team Bronze in dressage, and Phillip Dutton’s Individual Bronze in eventing.