Mill Spring, N.C. – Sept. 29, 2018 – The NetJets® U.S. Show Jumping Team made history during the second week of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) by earning the first team gold medal at a WEG for the USA. Horse & Country TV (H&C TV)’s highlight show featuring the team show jumping competition will air on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m.
Join H&C TV and watch how the team comprised of McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, Adrienne Sternlicht and Devin Ryan edged out the Swedish team by mere seconds in a nail-biting jump-off to capture the gold in front of a home crowd.
In addition, the individual show jumping competition at WEG will be highlighted on H&C TV on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m., where it was Germany’s Simone Blum who claimed the gold medal with DSP Alice.
After two rounds in the team competition, the U.S. athletes sat in the silver medal position with 12.59 faults. Switzerland was the overnight leader, however, they ran into some trouble when their first athlete, Werner Muff, picked up 13 faults and Janika Sprunger was eliminated after her horse Bacardi VDL refused the second fence twice.
Sweden began the day in the fourth place position, but propelled themselves up the rankings as the first three Swedish athletes all jumped clear, adding nothing to their overnight score after anchor combination Peder Fredricson and H&M Christian K dropped two rails. The U.S. did not find the same luck. Ryan and Eddie Blue had a late rail on course and Sternlicht and Cristalline also had the same rail down and picked up a single time fault.
However, Kraut and Zeremonie were able to turn things around for the U.S. as they delivered a clear round to hold the position for Team USA.
By the time Ward and Clinta entered the ring, the squad sat exactly four points ahead of Sweden, meaning a clear ride would clinch gold but a 4-fault ride would instigate a jump-off and 8 faults or more would push the USA down the rankings. With the weight of the gold medal on their shoulders, Ward and Clinta carefully maneuvered the track for what they hoped would be the final time, but unfortunately lowered a fence to warrant a jump-off with Sweden, each team on a composite score of 20.59.
This jump-off made WEG history. Both Ryan and Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) jumped clear, while second in the order, Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) and Sternlicht, each pulled a rail. Then Fredrik Jönsson (SWE) and Kraut followed with fast and clear rounds. Finally, Fredricson jumped clear, which put the pressure on Ward and Clinta once again. The pair delivered this time with a clear performance in 32.58 seconds, beating out Fredricson by two seconds and securing Team USA the gold as well as an automatic slot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, while the Swedish team took silver and Germany took bronze.
In the finale for the individual medals, spectators were on the edge of their seats as 29-year-old Blum, who also won team bronze with Germany earlier in the week, impressively navigated five rounds without dropping any rails over four days of competition with her own DSP Alice to win gold in her first major championship. Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs claimed silver with Clooney, while his compatriot and close friend Steve Guerdat, also from Switzerland, bagged bronze on Bianca.
Blum is the first woman to take the title at a WEG, which started in 1990. Prior to that, each discipline had its own world championship. In 1986, Canada’s Gail Greenough won gold during the last of the standalone events. This makes Blum the second woman in 65 years to become world champion.
WEG is held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, and is one of the biggest events on the equestrian calendar. It features a total of eight equestrian disciplines: show jumping, dressage, para-dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining. It was the major global championship of 2018.
The 2018 games were held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, Sept. 11–23.
H&C TV viewers can watch highlights from each discipline at the following schedule (all times EST):
- Team jumping: Saturday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m.
- Vaulting: Monday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 p.m.
- Driving: Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m.
- Individual jumping: Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m.
- Para-dressage: Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 9 p.m.
Click here to join H&C TV today and mark your calendar with H&C TV’s full WEG program schedule!
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