The drama continued on Monday as the top eight teams jumped in the second round of the Olympic team competition. What was looking like a three country jump-off was soon reduced to two teams as the anchor rider, Prince Abdullah al Saud of Saudi Arabia, could not produce the needed clear round, leaving his team to collect a bronze medal.
Head to head, tied with eight faults after two rounds, Great Britain and the Netherlands headed to a jump-off, which is not uncommon at the Olympics.
Britain's Nick Skelton and his mount Big Star have been brilliant from day one of show jumping and have not dropped a rail. Teammate Ben Maher, riding Triple X, has been equally impressive and he was clear in the jump off. Scott Brash provided the dropped score with four faults on Hello Sanctos. The real fighter for Britain was anchor rider Peter Charles, who struggled since day one with his horse Vindicat, but they delivered the clear round for his country that clinched the gold.
The last time Britain won a medal was a silver in 1984.
Team Netherlands settled for silver, its first team medal since 1992 in Barcelona where it won gold.
Team Canada finished fifth and had to count all three scores without the luxury of a drop score. Jill Henselwood on George had a score of nine, Eric Lamaze with Derly Chin De Muze with two rails down posted a score of eight and Captain Canada, Ian Millar with Star Power had a great ride incurring just four faults.
Both Lamaze and Millar will go through to the individual medal rounds that start on Wednesday. Surprises during the Team Competition
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- This was the first time in 20 years Germany did not make it into a team final.
- The Saudi Arabian team caught many by surprise, coming into the final round in first place. Not a nation you would be expecting to be leading the medal chase, but given the money their country has invested in horse power, training and competing in Europe these four riders have all learned their craft and produced consistent results that put them on the podium at the London Olympics.
- It was a tough track set by Britain's course designer Bob Ellis. It was big and it was wide. Riders needed to find the optimum take off spots to handle the incredible widths of the oxers.
- As for Wednesday's individual medal final, of the best 35 riders involved, there have been three riders who have not incurred any faults in three rounds of competition: Great Britain's Nick Skelton and Maikel van der Vleuten and Marc Houtzager of the Netherlands. Both riders from the Netherlands had rails in the jump off for gold.
1. Great Britain
3. Saudi Arabia