Articles: Press Release
United States' Severson in Fourth After Dressage Phase
Britain, France and Germany Lead in Team Standings
USA Equestrian, Inc.
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Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2004
The United States Eventing Team has its work cut out for it tomorrow and
Wednesday as Great Britain, France and Germany grabbed the lead in the
team standings after the dressage phase of the competition. Only 1.2
points separate the three teams, and the U.S. team is 15.2 penalty
points behind team leader Great Britain.
Kim Severson of Keene, VA, posted an excellent dressage test today on
Winsome Adante with a score of 36.2. It is important that the U.S. Team
go clean in the cross-country phase tomorrow morning to keep its medal
Currently the U.S. Individual Standings are as follows:
4th place - Kim Severson, Keene, VA (36.2)
15th place - Darren Chiacchia, Springdale, NY (44.6)
23rd place - John Williams, Middleburg, VA (47.60)
29th place - Amy Tryon, Duvall, WA (50.6)
58th place - Julie Richards, Newnan, GA, (65.4)
Top 5 Team Standings:
1st - Great Britain 113.20
2nd - France 113.40
3rd - Germany 114.40
4th - USA 128.40
5th - Australia 129.40
Today's Play by Play:
A second day of wind and mild temperatures greeted the second group of
eventers as Day II of the dressage phase wrapped up. Some were left
wondering if the Greek god Zeus himself had come down from Mt. Olympus
to make an appearance and stir up the atmosphere surrounding the
facility. However, it was Frenchman Nicolas Touzaint who posted the
day's best score - 29.40 - to put him atop all other competition at the
end of the day. His score came within four-tenths of tying the 2000
Olympic Eventing Gold medalist David O'Connor's record score of 29.00.
As for the Americans, there were two to compete today alongside the 38
riders entering the dressage arena - John Williams aboard Carrick and
Kim Severson aboard Winsome Adante.
Among today's eventing contenders for the Gold were Britain's Pippa
Funnell and Primmore's Pride; Australian Phillip Dutton and Nova Top;
Australia's Andrew Hoy and Mr. Pracatan; Britain's William Fox-Pitt and
Tamarillo; and New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson and Fenicio.
During Sunday's round one, Americans found themselves battling wind and
noise at the facility. Julie Richards found the conditions a challenge
as she and Jacob Two Two entered the arena at an unlucky hour just as
the winds picked up. The gusts, as well as the noisy atmosphere, have
proven a factor in the scoring. Other riders across the board made
mention of the conditions.
Perhaps it was the shape of the stadium seating that was the culprit of
the noisy environment - a curved structure that has proven to create an
echo effect, according to riders going on both days of the dressage
phase. Accompanied by the flags of 23 countries whipping furiously in
the wind, the din of an enthusiastic crowd and the continuous cacophony
spooked horses and provided an extra challenge to overcome in the
athletes' bids to stand upon the podium at Wednesday night's awarding of
the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for both Team and Individual
First among the two American riders was Middleburg, VA, resident John
Williams and the Thoroughbred Cross gelding, Carrick. The pairing won
their first international competition in 2002 and were hoping this week
would add to their tally. Having assisted the U.S. team in winning the
Gold medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, and
placing third in the Modified Rolex Three-Day Event in Kentucky this
past spring, they entered the dressage arena just after noon.
With clouds parting and the sun beaming through, after a cloudy and
unseasonably cool morning, Williams began his test under absolutely
wind-torn conditions. The noise alone from the wind was enough to
distract the most focused of horses.
However, for Carrick, the distractions proved to be a minimum - as he is
a horse that performs well under difficult circumstances. The pairing
posted a dressage score of 47.60 for a final placing among the two-day
scores of 23rd place.
Jokingly, after his ride, Williams said, "It wasn't windy enough! He
[Carrick] isn't your typical event horse - cold and wind and snow are
all good." Taking into consideration that Williams and Carrick call
Middleburg, VA, their home - where the temperatures may not be as
blistering as in Greece, but the humidity can be absolutely stifling -
he was happy overall with the wind and lack of humidity. "This is better
than we had anticipated," he admitted.
Definitely among Carrick's strength is his concentration which played
out well today and Williams echoed this in saying, "A situation like
this doesn't phase him in the least...I was hoping the crowds and the
wind would perk him up more - exactly what everybody else was not hoping
for," he said.
"Oh, well!" he laughed. "We were pleased enough with our performance. I
mean, you always wish it was a little better. But, I am a little
disappointed in the score."
Not disappointed had to be Williams' parents, from the Rochester, NY,
area who had made the long trip to Greece to watch their son compete in
his first Olympic Games.
Turning the question to the modified format for the cross-country,
Williams commented that it was very important that the horses be just as
fit as they would be for a "proper four-star." Many have criticized the
course as being less of a challenge than what would be found at the
four-star level. However, this was yet to be proved with the horses
facing that challenge on cross-country day on Tuesday.
Following Williams was the Frenchman Jean Teulere and his mount Espoir
de la Mare. Paying no attention to the hazards of the winds and noise,
the pairing charged forth and brought home to the French team an
impressive dressage score of 38.40. An elated French contingent was in
full appreciation, some of them sporting dyed hair to match the
tricoleur - red, white and blue.
Teulere admitted a few missteps during the pair's performance saying,
"We made a few mistakes." He continued to say that his hopes were high
for a victory for Team France since a medal has eluded them since
Jean-Jacques Guyon's Eventing Gold medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in
Another big name taking his turn at dressage today was the venerable
Aussie team member Philip Dutton aboard Nova Top. Dutton and his gelding
landed a score of 46.8 - further bumping three of four Americans down in
An impressive ride was handed in by Germany's Frank Ostholt and his
chestnut Hanoverian stallion Air Jordan. And Ostholt was quick to note
that this was his mounts best test ever, even though the aforementioned
noise situation had spooked him a bit alongside of the arena. They
posted 41.4 penalties for an overall ninth placing at day's end.
Britain's Pippa Funnell cruised through a beautiful dressage round and
raised the stakes on all who came to Athens to challenge the first-ever
Eventing Grand Slam champion. Posting a score of 31.40, she leapt into
the lead, however there was more dressage to come. Would her score hold
to leave her on top to start the second phase of the eventing
Late in the day, all eyes turned to American Kim Severson from Keene,
VA, and her Winsome Adante as they prepared to enter the arena. Severson
and "Dan," as he is affectionately known, were high on the list of
riders expected to excel in Athens for Team USA, having won two of the
last three Rolex Kentucky four-star events in Lexington. The pairing
spent a year away from competition as they both were nursed back to top
form. Severson suffered a terrible fall leaving her bedridden for the
2003 event, while Dan found himself with a threatening case of colic.
Both of them, in true champion form, fought back. Today they proved
their position as one of the big threats at this year's Olympic Games.
Their focus was unflinching, not allowing the troubles that plagued
other combinations to get in their way of the Olympic medal podium.
"I am very happy - very happy with it," commented a smiling Severson. "I
rode him three times today, which is more than I ever ride him - just to
make sure." Severson did not ride him conservatively she said, instead
opening him up. "In his condition, it's just the best thing to do."
When asked about her first trip to the Olympics, Severson surprised some
with her answer. "It's actually a lot more laid back than I thought it
was going to be - I was surprised. It's a lot like any other horse show
- which is nice. It was pleasantly surprising and it was a lot quieter
than I had anticipated," said Severson. "I was very much on my aids, and
I was really happy with him," she said referring to her horse's
performance in the ring.
With her dressage test at the end of the second day of stiff
competition, there was much riding on her effort. But none of that
seemed to bother the calm and collected Severson.
"It was about me and my horse - not about anyone else," she confidently
stated. "I just needed to do what I did for myself. You can't worry
about other people. You just have to do your own thing." And that she
As for cross-country on Tuesday, Severson thinks that the course is
going to be mentally tough and a real challenge to stay on it. "You'll
just have to be on the ball all the way around it," she added. "At any
event, it is anybody's game."
Accompanying Severson after her ride was USA Team Chef d'Equipe Captain
Mark Phillips whose broad smile told the story.
"She's great," he said. "She's a very cool customer - number one. And
number two - she always produces her best work in the ring, and that's a
Looking forward to Tuesday's highly-anticipated cross-country test,
Captain Phillips smiled and teasingly said, "Well, tomorrow...tomorrow
is another day."
New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson, placed high on the list to do well in
the dressage phase, saw his hopes fade in the late afternoon sun as he
and his mount Fenicio posted a rather disappointing 63.40.
Top 10 scores at the end of the dressage phase of Eventing:
29.40 Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) and Galan de Sauvagere
31.40 Pippa Funnell (GBR) and Primmore's Pride
32.00 Bettina Hoy (GER) and Ringwood Cockatoo
36.20 Kim Severson (USA) and Winsome Adante
38.40 Jean Teulere (FRA) and Espoir de la Mare
38.60 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Tamarillo
40.60 Rebel Morrow (AUS) and Oaklea Groover
41.00 Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Sleep Late
41.40 Frank Ostholt (GER) and Air Jordan
43.20 Leslie Law (GBR) and Shear L'Eau
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