History-maker Michael Jung wins individual eventing title
Germany's Michael Jung created equestrian history at the London Games today, winning gold to become the first rider to hold the European, world and Olympic individual eventing titles.india Updated: Jul 31, 2012 22:39 IST
Germany's Michael Jung created equestrian history at the London Games on Tuesday, winning gold to become the first rider to hold the European, world and Olympic individual eventing titles.
It was a red letter day for the record-breaker as he had earlier picked up eventing team gold on his brilliant horse Sam, all of this on the day he celebrated his 30th birthday.
In silver came Sweden's Sara Algotsson-Ostholt, who suffered wretched luck as she was on target to become the first woman to take the title only for her grey mare Wega to knock the top pole off the final fence.
That left her with a combined total after the dressage and cross country of 43.30 points, behind Jung on 40.60.
Bronze went to Jung's compatriot, Sandra Auffarth, with 44.80 points, with Australian veteran Andrew Nicholson, appearing at his seventh Games, in fourth.
After hugs all round from his mother, father and brother, Jung had just one word for his feat: "Awesome!"
Jung said that he had resigned himself to getting silver as Algotsson-Ostholt came to the last.
"I was very happy with my second place but now my first place is even better.
"You always dream that when everything goes perfectly you can win gold, but I never dreamed I'd have two," he grinned, weighing the two bright medals hung around his neck in the palms of his hands.
"Now I'm going to have dinner with my family, and then party..."
There was a sense of deja vu at Greenwich Park as four years ago at the Beijing Olympics Germany also picked up the team gold, with Algotsson-Ostholt's husband Frank Ostholt in the squad.
Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and a member of the Great Britain team that had clinched silver earlier Tuesday in the team competition, put in a faultless round to briefly lead the standings.
But she eventually slipped down the rankings to eventually finish a respectable eighth, four places above New Zealand's former double Olympic champion Mark Todd.
After Jung had posted his perfect round the only rider who could deny him glory was Algotsson-Ostholt, the last of the 24 riders to jump.
The 37-year-old, whose sister has also represented Sweden at the Olympics, was on course to end the male stranglehold of this exacting discipline until that heart-wrenching final fence blunder.
"Shit happens," she shrugged.
Asked at the post-event press conference to elaborate on what had gone wrong the Swedish rider said: "At the triple combination before the last fence I told her (Wega) to be careful, to slow down.
"I tried to do the same at the last, but she didn't react so quickly and was too fast at it and just put down a toe."
The London 2012 equestrian events take a breather on Wednesday before returning for the start of the individual dressage.