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U.S. finishes fourth in dressage team Grand Prix

U.S. rider Steffen Peters and Ravel react after their Wednesday performance in the dressage team Grand Prix competition at the Olympics equestrian venue in Hong Kong.

The U.S. Olympics equestrian team finished fourth on Wednesday during the dressage team Grand Prix in Hong Kong.

The U.S. squad finished with a 67.817% score, just shy of third-place Denmark, with 68.875%. Germany (72.917%) finished in first and The Netherlands (71.750%) second.
   
Anchor rider Steffen Peters turned in what the U.S. Equestrian Federation described as "a brilliant performance" while riding Ravel. But Peters' 10th-place individual finish (with a 70.00% total) fell just shy of pulling the U.S. team into bronze medal contention.

“Overall I’m really pleased,” said Peters, who hails from San Diego. “I had nothing to lose so I really went for it. [Ravel] was quite good, but he got nervous in the free walk toward the screen. There were a couple of things that weren’t quite as good as normal. There were a lot of good things in there.”

Peters said that he expects Ravel to be ready for Saturday's individual Grand Prix Special competition at the Olympics venue in Hong Kong.

The U.S. medal chances took a hit when Debbie McDonald and Brentina (veteran medalists from past World Equestrian and Olympic games) finished with an unexpectedly low 63.00%.

Bretina "started spooking when I went in the ring,” McDonald said. “I have no idea what she was spooking at; I couldn’t put my leg on her. I was totally surprised. I don’t really know what to say; I feel awful for the team. She was so much different than she was in the warm-up, she totally took me by surprise.”

Courtney King-Dye and Mythilus finished with a 70.458% score. The pair "made a splash at their first Olympic Games with a mistake-free test," the USEF reports.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: U.S. rider Steffen Peters and Ravel react after their Wednesday performance in the dressage team Grand Prix competition at the Olympics equestrian venue in Hong Kong. Credit: Kin Cheung / Associated Press

 
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Comments (1)

Debbie McDonald exemplifies grace and professionalism under pressure and showed why equestrian sports are so different--and so much more complex--than the other Olympic events. As Steffen Peters himself said, "Horses are not machines." The fact that the U.S. Dressage Team did not earn bronze may be lost in the medal-obsessed fervor of these Games, and I would urge the Times to cover these kinds of stories in more detail, to remind us that true athleticism and sportsmanship aren't only found in those who win gold, silver and bronze.


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