PTI | ByErik Kirschbaum (Reuters), Athens
Aug 31, 2004 08:19 PM IST

Germany dominated the dressage and show jumping events. They also had team and individual gold for a few days before losing them to the legal challenge.

Brilliant performances in pressure-packed finals marked the Athens Olympic equestrian competition even if bitter finger-pointing and ugly legal battles sometimes overshadowed the sport of elegance and power.

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Germany dominated the team competition, taking gold medals in dressage and show jumping. They also had team and individual gold in three-day eventing for a few days before losing them in an unscheduled fourth discipline -- the legal challenge.

"I'm really unforgiving," said German Bettina Hoy, who lost two golds in the row. "I don't think I will ever be able to forgive for this.

"I don't ever again want to see the English, French and US equestrian officials who took our gold medals away from us. And if I do run into them I'm going to completely ignore them."

But there were also delightful surprises, such as Cian O'Connor winning the first equestrian medal for Ireland with a dazzling effort to get the individual show jumping gold.

There were reliable winners, such as Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands defending her individual dressage gold.

The ugly row that erupted over the twin three-day eventing golds that Germany won, lost, won again and then lost again left odorous muck splattered on the sport that prides itself in the Olympic spirit of fair play.

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