Articles: Horse News
Mary McCormick Finishes Fourth, Todd Griffiths Places 10th in 2010 Alltech
FEI World Equestrian Games' Individual Vaulting Finals
Mary McCormick, earlier this week.
Photo by Shannon Brinkman for USEF.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2010
by Brian Sosby
Lexington, KY - The Alltech Arena was a sell-out house with old and new
fans of the equestrian sport of vaulting as the men's and women's freestyle
final was contested at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on
Saturday, October 9. The crowd was treated to the world's best vaulters who
put on a fantastic show for a vocal and appreciative audience. The top 15
from each division were invited back to compete for a medal.
Lead up for the women was the Gold-medal champion for the 2006 Aachen Games
- Megan Benjamin aboard Urfruend Rosengaard (a 10-year-old Oldenburg owned
by Kirsa Kristensen) lunged by Lasse Kristensen. Despite her strong
performance, there was too much room to make up to move into a medal
position. Benjamin, 22, of Saratoga, CA, finished her 2010 WEG effort just
off the medal podium in fifth place on her freestyle score of 8.465 and her
final composite score of 8.165.
"I did my entire routine. That's all I can ask for," said Benjamin. "I did
everything that I could."
She said that she might have a slight disadvantage because she went so early
in the round.
"That's just the way the sport works," she said. "I'm just glad I could give
Kentucky that performance."
The second vaulter to enter the ring was Alicen Divita, 21, of Redwood City,
CA, and Giovanni (a 13-year-old Mecklenberger owned by Julie Divita). Her
lunger was her mother, Julie Divita. Her score didn't quite match her Round
1 freestyle performance. Today she earned a score of 8.250 to finish on a
four-round score of 8.082 and seventh place overall.
The final vaulter in the women's competition was the U.S. Team's Mary
McCormick, 27, of Woodside, CA, aboard Sir Anthony Van Dyck (a 19-year-old
KWPN owned by Sydney Frankel). Once again vaulting to Lenny Kravitz'
"American Woman," she thrilled the crowd with exceptional movements and
gymnastics. It was a brilliant ending to the week-long competition that put
the athletes through their paces. In fact, her freestyle score of 8.680 was
the highest of the day for the women. McCormick's lunger was Carolyn Bland.
"It was just one step at a time and feeling the horse and going with it,"
said McCormick. "This crowd is unbelievable...it's overwhelming."
Just missing a medal on a score of 8.680 for her freestyle and a composite
score of 8.270 for the competition, McCormick was upbeat and pleased with
"It's a bummer, but I came into this competition saying that all I wanted to
do was my best," she said. "And I feel like I did that and I'm not
disappointed. It would be great to take a medal home but this is some
seriously amazing competition. They would have had to make a mistake for me
to get in there."
McCormick disclosed that she had plans to compete at the WEG in Normandy,
France, in 2014. "I have to set up a four-year plan and get going with
that," she said. "But, for now, it's going home and lots of trail riding
with Van Dyck."
At the end of competition, it was a Gold medal for Great Britian's Joanne
Eccles aboard WH Bentley on a final score of 8.413. A pair of German
vaulters - Antje Hill aboard Airbus and Simone Wiegele aboard Arkansas -
took the Silver and Bronze medals respectively on scores of 8.322 and 8.281.
In the men's competition, Montana native Todd Griffiths, 30, returned to
perform his freestyle to the ballad "Angels" aboard Lanson 16 (a 12-year-old
Hanoverian owned by Jan and Betsy Garrod) lunged by Jessica
Ballenger. Leading the U.S. effort, he looked confident in his flowing and
expressive freestyle, but took a bit of a tumble on his
dismount. Nevertheless, the crowd honored him with a rousing
applause. Griffiths finished in 10th place on his freestyle score of 8.070
and composite of 7.425.
"I was really pleased with my performance today," said Griffiths. "The first
jump was a Russian split jump...and it's one of my favorite jumps and not
many people can do it and stay on the horse. With my gymnastics background,
it's been my move I've done for many years so I was really excited to
perform it really well today.
The only bobble to the performance was Griffiths' dismount known as an X-out
"It's a back flip that you split your legs in the middle of the flip," he
said. "I just held the tuck just a split second too long so my feet were
just barely further under me than I wanted and my feet slipped out from
As for continuing in the sport and looking toward Normandy in 2014,
Griffiths said that his role would most likely be as a coach of Canadian
vaulters. So, it seems this is Griffiths' final WEG appearance.
"The only thing I can say is that I'm pleased with what I've done. To be
able to do four rounds that I would say are four of the best rounds I've
ever put together at the World Championships, that's all I can ask for to
happen in my career."
The second of two male vaulters for the U.S. was Kenny Geisler, 29, of
Diamond Bar, CA, aboard Jacadi de Rox (a 13-year-old Selle Francais owned by
Julie Ann Young) lunged by Julie Young. This was Geisler's fourth WEG in
which he competed.
Uncertain of his foot positioning, he lost his balance at the very beginning
of the performance. But he quickly recovered and did his best to complete
his routine to mixed results.
"We had a little stumble in the very beginning but everything else was rock
solid. I'm really, really happy with it," he said. "It's a great way to go
Geisler's future as an Individual vaulter is somewhat uncertain, though he
does plan to work as a coach of one of the American teams.
"I'm 29, so I'm probably not going to come back as a vaulter, but you never
say never." Geisler finished the day on a freestyle score of 7.295 and a
composite of 7.084 for 13th place.
The afternoon's singular outstanding performance was by France's Nicolas
Andreani. Artistic and beautifully executed, regardless of knowledge of the
sport, it translated to the packed house that awarded him with the day's
loudest reaction to a men's routine. His unique mount, haunting musical
score and poetic movement were truly memorable. His freestyle score was
8.905 - the day's highest.
In the men's division the medals were ultimately decided by hundredths of a
point. The Gold medal was awarded to the day's final competitor - Patric
Looser of Switzerland (aboard Record RS von der Wintermuhle) on a freestyle
score of 8.885 and a composite of 8.498. The 2006 Gold medalist - Germany's
Kai Vorberg - had to settle with the Silver on a freestyle score of 8.790
and a final score of 8.463 aboard Sir Bernhard RS von der
Wintermuhle. France's Nicolas Andreani was awarded the Bronze aboard Idefix
de Braize on the day's most artistic and highest freestyle score of 8.905
and a composite of 8.452.
Vaulting competition winds up on the final day of competition at the 2010
Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Sunday with the Team medal competition
in the Alltech Arena.
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