Silver Spot – Olympics-Equestrian-Swedes throw everything at gold, settle for silver – again
TOKYO, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Sweden threw everything they had at an individual show jumping Olympic gold medal on Wednesday but in end the Tre Kronor went triple silver.
Sweden had three contestants in the five rider jump-off for the medals at the Tokyo Equestrian Centre but it was lone Briton Ben Maher who snatched gold with a fast clean ride.
For the third time in four Olympics Sweden occupied second place on the podium with Peder Fredricson taking silver for the second consecutive Games.
Sweden has never won Olympic gold in individual show jumping but after Fredricson and team mates Henrik von Eckermann and Malin Baryard-Johnsson all produced clean rides in the opening round not just gold but an unthinkable sweep of the podium seemed possible.
It was Maher and his mount Explosion W who scuppered Swedish hopes, however, as Britain rode away with the gold for the second straight Games.
“I’m delighted,” Fredricson shrugged. “Of course gold is the goal but today was Ben’s day and that’s the way it goes sometimes, small margins.
“I was quite happy with my jump-off, I just wasn’t quite fast enough.”
While Fredricson was comforted by his silver, the Swede expressed sadness for his team mates particularly Baryard-Johnsson who was contesting her fifth Olympics.
Von Eckermann could not hide his disappointment at his fourth place while Bayard-Johnsson was fifth, a huge improvement on her previous best 20th at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. “I feel a sorry for them,” Fredricson said. “We were all in the jump off I certainly would have loved to have them up there around me.”
Three strong rides in the individual competition, however, bodes well for the team jumping on Saturday where Sweden can end a gold medal drought dating back to the 1924 Paris Games.
“If the team competition would have been today we would have had gold,” said Fredricson. “I’m not sure that was the best preparation going into the team competition.
“But it seems the horses are in good shape and we will for sure do our very best.” (Reporting by Steve Keating in Tokyo, additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla, Editing by Ed Osmond)