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U.S. wins Olympic Equestrian Jumping Team gold
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09:10, August 19, 2008


Rider Beezie Madden of the United States riding her horse Authentic jumps over an obstacle during the team jumping final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 18, 2008. The team of the United States won the gold medal of team jumping of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events with total penalities of 20 and 0 in jump-off. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

Defending gold medallist the United States won the Olympic Equestrian Jumping Team gold medal, holding off a strong challenge from Canada in the Team Final competition at the Shatin Equestrian Venue Monday night.

The United States retained their Olympic title after a jump-off with Canada in the Jumping Team competition. It is the first time an Olympic gold medal has been decided in a jump-off.

The jump-off was called after the United States and Canada were tied on 20 penalties in the second round of competition. For the U.S. team, Mclain Ward, Laura Kraut and Will Simpson all went clear with zero penalties within the 45 seconds allowed. Beezie Madden did not need to go out for the jump-off.

Rider Mclain Ward of the U.S. celebrates after winning of the team jumping final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 18, 2008. The team of the United States won the gold medal of team jumping of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events with total penalities of 20 and 0 in jump-off. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)

Canada had only three riders in the competition after Mac Cone withdrew due to horse Ole's injury. Olympic veteran, 61-year-old Ian Millar, did not proceed into the jump-off after Jill Henselwood had a pole down and the cause was lost for Canada.

Norway came third on 27 penalty points and claimed the bronze medal.

First-round joint leaders Switzerland dropped out of the medals into fourth position on 30 penalties after European champion Christina Liebherr had a disappointing round on 23 points.

Canadian rider Eric Lamaze rides his horse Hickstead jumps over an obstacle during the team jumping final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 18, 2008. The team of Canada won the silver medal of team jumping of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events with total penalities of 20 and 4 in jump-off. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

Germany and the Netherlands finished equal fifth.

U.S. team member Kraut told reporters, "It's like a dream come truce, amazing. And dreams do come true Laura Kraut."

Kraut said "We wanted a gold medal very, very badly, it's a great feeling."

Meanwhile, Kraut's teammate Ward said, "We all did it and it's really exciting. There are a lot of people behind us to make it happen, and we want to thank them."

Monday's competition also serves as the third qualifier for places in the Individual final.

Andre Tony Hansen of Norway is ranked first on 3 total penalties while Jos Lansink of Belgium, Mclain Ward of the United States, Edwina Alexander of Australia and Eric Lamaze of Canada are tied for second place on 4 penalties.

Defending gold medalist from Athens 2004 Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil is ranked seventh on 7 penalties.

A total of 47 qualified riders took part in Monday's Jumping Individual Third Round, including Patrick Lam of Hong Kong, China. Lam ranked 46th on 45 penalties.

Top 35 riders plus ties will move into Thursday's Jumping Individual Final Round A.

In an interview with reporters after the competition, Lam said, "I was slow, careful and lost my concentration. My horse was a little bit tired. Two big rounds in two days are too much."

On his feelings, he said "I passed the finish line and I reached my goal. I'm happy."

There are a total of six Olympic equestrian gold medals. The Germans have already bagged three gold medals so far -- team and individual eventing and the team dressage.

Riders from the team of Norway celebrate during the victory ceremony of the team jumping final of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 18, 2008. The team of Norway won the bronze medal of team jumping of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games equestrian events with total penalities of 27. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)

Source:Xinhua

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