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Olympic Eventing Preview: Jung Could be Hard to Beat
« on: August 05, 2016, 08:52:49 AM »
Olympic Eventing Preview: Jung Could be Hard to Beat     By Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Aug 2, 2016
Germany’s Michael Jung took individual gold in Olympic Eventing at London 2012, with Sara Algottsson Ostholt (SWE) in silver and Sandra Auffarth (GER) in bronze.

Some say that if you sent him cross-country wearing a blindfold and facing backwards on his horse that Germany’s Michael Jung could still bring home Olympic gold. This is the man that the Olympic eventing field will have to beat when the eventing competition gets underway at the Olympic equestrian venue at Deodoro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 6.

Jung arrived at the London Games four years ago hoping to become the first-ever rider to hold the World, European, and Olympic titles at the same time, and celebrated his 30th birthday by winning not one, but two gold medals. He has since added team gold at the Alltech Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, in 2014; double-gold at last summer’s FEI European Championships in Scotland; and the CCI4* titles at Burghley last September and both Kentucky and Badminton this May. And, just a few short weeks ago he finished first and sixth individually in the latest leg of the FEI Nations Cup Eventing 2016 series in Aachen, Germany.

Jung won’t compete in Brazil with his intended ride, Takinou who picked up an infection recently. Instead, he will switch to his 2012 Olympic ride, 16-year-old Sam—the horse that cruised into the winner’s enclosure at both Burghley and Badminton.
Strong Teams Lining Up

As defending Olympic champions, Team Germany look strong, with Jung, Ingrid Klimke, Sandra Auffarth, and Andreas Ostholt. However, they didn’t have things all their own way in Aachen where many Olympic contenders were giving their horses a run and the resurgent Australians sprang a major surprise by overwhelming their hosts.

Australia, Germany, and the United States have all won the Olympic eventing team title four times, and Christopher Burton, Sam Griffiths, Shane Rose, and Stuart Tinney look set to fly that Australian flag high once again.

The closest their neighbors from New Zealand have come to the top of the podium is the bronze they claimed in London four years ago, and they shouldn’t be underestimated this time around. New Zealand team member Sir Mark Todd took back-to-back individual gold with Charisma in Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul, South Korea, in 1988. Only one other rider in Olympic history has achieved that distinction: Dutchman Charles Pahud de Mortanges with Macroix in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1928 and Los Angeles in 1932. However, Jung could join that elite group if he and Sam reign supreme once more.

Todd will be a busy man in Rio. Not only will he be chasing down medals for himself, but the 60-year-old athlete will also be taking interest in the performance of the Brazilian team he has been training for the last few years.
Eventing Facts and Figures

    24 nations
    13 teams
    65 horse and rider combinations
    New Zealand’s Sir Mark Todd will match the record held by Australia’s Andrew Hoy and the United States’ Mike Plumb for most Olympic appearances in eventing. Rio 2016 will be his seventh games, and he was also the team trainer at Athens 2004. Todd competed in two disciplines—eventing and Jumping—at the games in Seoul, South Korea in 1988 and Barcelona, Spain, in 1992.
    Todd and Plumb share the record for the most Olympic medals won in eventing with six each.
    Teams consist of a minimum of three and maximum of four horse and rider combinations, with three best results counting toward the team total.
    The team and individual competitions run concurrently.
    Individual final jumping test will take place after team jumping on the same day—Aug. 9. The individual final is open to the Top 25, including ties for 25th place, with a restriction of three horse and rider combinations per country.
    The cross-country course is approximately 5,700 meters (about 3.5 miles) in length. The time-allowed is 10 minutes and the maximum number of jumping efforts will be between 42 and 45. - In the final jumping phase, the fences for the first round which decides the team medals will be up to 1.25 meters (about 4 feet) in height, with between 11 and 13 fences on the course.
    The fences will be raised to 1.30 meters (about 4.3 feet) for the individual jumping final.
    One country—Russia—will be represented by a team of just three riders.
    Germany won both the team and individual titles at the London 2012 Olympics and three members of that winning team are competing again in Rio de Janeiro: Sandra Auffarth, Michael Jung, and Ingrid Klimke.
    Jung and Todd are the only former Olympic individual champions in the field. Jung is defending team and individual gold medalist, and Todd won individual gold at Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988.

Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and United States will also be in the race for the team title, along with a Russian team fielding just three riders and the British contingent, whose squad includes London 2012 team silver medalist William Fox-Pitt, as well as Pippa Funnell who took individual bronze in Athens, Greece in 2004.

All three of the individual medalists from London will be in Rio: Germany’s Jung and Auffarth, who claimed gold and bronze, and Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt, who took silver.

Twenty-nine of the 75 eventing athletes are female and if one of them succeeds in winning individual gold, she will be the first-ever female athlete to do so.
What is Eventing?

Once known as “the military,” because it was a test for cavalrymen and their horses, eventing is a comprehensive test of horse and rider, combining the disciplines of dressage, cross-country riding, and jumping, with results from each phase totaled for a final score. It’s the lowest score that wins, for both the team and individual medals. Eventing has been an Olympic discipline since 1912.
How It Will Play Out

The first horse inspection follows the draw, which will decide the running order for the first two phases of the competition. This takes place in the presence of the ground jury. As the draw is made, blocks of individual athletes will be interspersed between team members, with the fourth athlete from each team going in the final group.

Eventing dressage takes place on Aug. 6 and 7, followed by cross-country on Aug. 8. After the second horse inspection the following morning, Aug. 9, the team medals will be decided in the first round of jumping. The Top 25 will then qualify for the individual final in the afternoon, again competing in reverse order of merit and with only three riders from each nation permitted to make the cut.
The Officials

The ground jury president is America’s Marilyn Payne who will work alongside New Zealand’s Andrew Bennie and Great Britain’s Sandy Phillips. The eventing technical delegate is Great Britain’s Alec Lochore who will be assisted by Australia’s Geoff Sinclair.

The cross-country course designer is Pierre Michelet from France whose course-building team is headed up by Tyson Rementer and Levi Ryckewaert. Michelet previously designed the course for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy.

Venezuela’s Cesar Hirsch is overall chief steward for the equestrian events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and Thierry Castelle from France fills the role of eventing chief steward.

President of the appeal committee for all the equestrian disciplines is Pierre Ketterer from France while Brazil’s Dr. Thomas Wolff is president of the veterinary commission.
The Teams

    Australia: Christopher Burton (Santano ll), Sam Griffiths (Paulank Brockagh), Shane Rose (CP Qualified), Stuart Tinney (Pluto Mio). Reserve: Samantha Birch (Hunter Valley).
    Brazil: Marcio Carvalho Jorge (Lizzie Mac Wayer), Ruy Fonseca (Tom Bombadill Too), Carlos Parro (Summon Up The Blood), Marcio Appel (Iberon Jmen). Reserve: Nilson Moreira da Silva (Muggle).
    Canada: Rebecca Howard (Riddle Master), Colleen Loach (Qorry Blue d’Aurgouges), Catherine Robinson (Let It Bee), Jessica Phoenix (A Little Romance).
    France: Karim Florent Laghouag (Entebbe) Mathieu Lemoine (Bart L), Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B’Neville), Thibaut Valette (Qing du Briot). Reserve: Nicolas Touzaint (Crocket 30).
    Great Britain: William Fox-Pitt (Chilli Morning), Pippa Funnell (Billy the Biz), Kitty King (Ceylor LAN), Gemma Tattersall (Quicklook V). Reserve: Tina Cook (Billy the Red).
    Germany: Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo), Michael Jung (Sam FBW), Ingrid Klimke (Hale Bob OLD), Andreas Ostholt (So is Et). Reserve: Julia Krajewski (Samourai du Thot).
    Ireland: Clare Abbott (Euro Prince), Jonty Evans (Cooley Rorkes Drift), Mark Kyle (Jemilia), Padraig McCarthy (Simon Porloe). Reserve: Camilla Speirs (Portersize Just a Jiff).
    Italy: Stefano Brecciaroli (Apolle VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve), Luca Roman (Castlewoods Jake), Pietro Roman (Barraduff), Arianna Schivo (Quefira de l’Ormeau).
    Netherlands: Merel Blom (Rumour Has It), Tim Lips (Bayro), Alice Naber-Lozeman (Peter Parker), Theo van de Vendel (Zindane).
    New Zealand: Mark Todd (Leonidas ll), Jonathan Paget (Clifton Lush), Jonelle Price (Faerie Dianimo), Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation). Reserve: Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy).
    Russia: Aleksandr Markov (Kurfurstin), Audrey Mitin (Gurza), Evgeniya Oychinnikova (Orion).
    Sweden: Sara Algotsson Ostholt (Reality 39), Ludwig Svennerstal (Aspe), Frida Andersen (Herta), Anna Nilsson (Luron). Reserve: Linda Algotsson (Fairnet).
    United States: Philip Dutton (Mighty Nice), Boyd Martin (Blackfoot Mystery), Lauren Kieffer (Veronica), Clark Montgomery (Loughan Glen). Reserve: Lynn Symansky (Donner).

Nations Competing

Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America and Zimbabwe.

A full list of horse and rider combinations is available online.
About the Author
Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)
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