Articles: Press Release
U.S. Equestrian Team Wins Bronze Medal in Team Dressage
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-September 27, 2000-Christine Traurig of Carlsbad, CA, the
final rider in the Sydney Olympic team dressage competition, rode Etienne, a
12-year-old, Westphalian gelding owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Haas, to his
best score ever and gave the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) its third
consecutive Olympic team Bronze Medal.
Needing a score of 1729 points (69.16%) to move the USET ahead of Denmark
for the Bronze, Traurig, riding in her first Olympics, was cool and calm and
rode her talented yet inexperienced horse to the ride of his life.
"I asked my teammates not to tell me what score I needed," she said
afterwards. "I think it's best not to know and to just try to ride the best
test you can. I am so proud of my horse and what he has done and I am
thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Haas for giving me this moment which is the dream
of a lifetime."
Traurig's score of 1746 (69.84%) gave the USET a team total of 5166 just
ahead of Denmark's 5149. Germany won the Gold for the fifth consecutive
Games (all since the 1980 boycott) with a total of 5632 points that
outdistanced the 5579 score of The Netherlands which won the Silver for the
third consecutive Games.
"Christine came to the fore today," said USET chef d'equipe Jessica
Ransehousen. "Watching her warm up was a pleasure because she was fresh and
open and she rode with a clear mind and that is exactly how she remained in
the ring. The pressure was on and she did us proud."
Although the USET ended the first half of the team competition Tuesday in
third place, the Danes remained a great concern because of which entries
remained for Wednesday's final. The Danes were strong and the USET had one
horse recently recovered from colic and another with little international
Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, CA started the USET off right with a brilliant
ride on Foltaire, a 13-year-old, Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Dick and
Jane Brown who had missed training earlier this month when he came down with
colic. Although surgery was avoided, the colic and the missed practice left
some anticipating a less than optimum performance from Foltaire; that is,
until Seidel rode him in to the ring.
"I thought Guenter gave the best ride anyone could possibly have given on
Foltaire especially when you consider all that he's been through," said
Ransehousen. " He rode way beyond what anyone had a right to expect."
Seidel and Foltaire received a score of 1695 (67.80%) and was quite pleased
with his horse's ride. "He was really fresh, I guess because we haven't
worked him that much," said Seidel who was also a member of the USET's
Bronze Medal team at Atlanta in 1996. "I tried not to push him beyond what I
thought he could do today and I'm very happy with how it turned out.
"I really feel like we deserve this medal because all four of our riders
rode so well," he added. "Sometimes you get lucky, but this time we really
fought and earned it."
Joining Traurig and Seidel on the medal stand was Sue Blinks of Wellington,
FL who rode yesterday and scored 69.00% (1725 points) on Flim Flam, a
13-year-old, Hanoverian gelding owned by Fritz Kundrun and the Dressage
Sponsor Corporation; and team captain Robert Dover of Flemington, NJ who
started the USET off with a score of 1678 (67.12%) on Ranier, a 9-year-old,
Oldenburg gelding owned by Jane Clark.
"I had every part of my body crossed rooting for Christine," Blinks
said. "With all that pressure, she did just an unbelievable job. She really
is a hero. I can hardly believe that I'm an Olympic medalist."
Dover, who in his fifth Olympic Games has made more Olympic appearances than
any other U.S. dressage rider, said that in many ways this was the most
satisfying of his three Olympic Bronze Medals. "It wasn't like we were a
sure bet to do this," he said. "Many people were saying that we couldn't get
it done, especially with all we've been through before the start of the
Games. But our whole team rose to the occasion and I mean not just the
riders but everyone from the USET leadership and our wonderful owners to our
grooms and everyone else who helps us be ready for when we ride."
The U.S. won the team Bronze in 1932, team Silver in 1948 and team Bronze in
1976. In the three Olympiads since 1992, the USET has equaled that total of
all previous Olympiads and much credit must go to the sound program
developed and implemented by the USET as well as to Ransehousen and Dover
who have been the mainstays of the USET dressage program over this
"This is a great day for everyone involved in dressage in the United
States," said Ransehousen. "We came here without a superstar like Peron or
Graf George of Gifted, but with four excellent horses and four fabulous
riders. We should all be very proud of what they accomplished."