Without question, the Australian eventing riders operate at the top level in their sport and are very good at the dressage, very, very good at the cross country and very, very, very good at the show jumping. On top of that, our horses were outstanding and the competitive toughness of our riders was remarkable. There was just so much pressure at the top end of the Tokyo competition and the team that blinked the least was the Australian team. Well, maybe the British team winning the team gold medal was pretty spectacular as well!
And Andrew Hoy! What can you say? He is 62 years of age and at his eighth Olympics and he wins an individual bronze medal. Did you realise that Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos were the only combination at the Tokyo Olympics in eventing to finish on their dressage score, including the individual show jumping round, which was an add-on after the team show jumping round! Bloody unbelievable!
In the dressage phase, Australia’s team score ended up with 93.4 penalties. If the Australian team had produced a personal best score, they would have ended up with 81.3 penalties. Just keep in mind the team gold medallists, Great Britain, ended up after all phases with a score of 86.3. Shane Rose and Virgil in the dressage we had hoped would score 26.8 penalties, which is more or less his personal best. Shane scored 31.7 penalties so, 4.9 penalties off his personal best. Kevin McNab and Don Quidam we had hoped in the dressage would score 26.9 penalties representing his personal best, and he in actual fact scored 32.1, which was 5.2 penalties off his personal best. Andrew and Vassily de Lassos we had hoped in the dressage would score 27.6 penalties, however, they ended up with a score of 29.6, which was 2 penalties behind their personal best. So, Australia dropped 12.1 penalties off their personal best combined dressage score.
In the cross country phase, the Australian team incurred no cross country jump penalties and just 2.8 time penalties for the whole team. The gold medallists, Great Britain, had no cross country jump penalties and no cross country time penalties. The bronze medallists, France, had no cross country jump penalties but 2.0 cross country time penalties. This all sounds academic, however, we did beat France by 1.3 penalties for the silver medal. So, if one of our riders had gone four seconds slower on the cross country we would have slipped to a team bronze medal or, conversely, if the French rider, Christopher Six, was four seconds faster and so not incurring any time penalties, France would again have taken the team silver medal. Oh so close. My goodness, our Australian boys did us proud.
In the show jumping phase, Australia had just one rail down and no time penalties for the whole team in the team competition. Germany was the only country to do better, and they had no show jumping penalties. So, our Australian event riders are definitely amongst the best riders in the world in the show jumping phase.