France win team jumping gold, 40 years after Montreal

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RIO DE JANEIRO: France overcame a litany of setbacks to clinch the Olympic team jumping title on Wednesday to follow up their team eventing gold last week.

French riders Phillippe Rozier, whose father won France’s last team jumping gold 40 years ago in Montreal, Kevin Staut and Roger Yves Bost, were placed fifth after the first day on Tuesday.

But they sealed the title after three clear rounds of jumping with only two time faults to add to the one picked up the day before to finish on a total of three penalties.

The United States had to settle for silver after Lucy Davis riding Barron knocked a pole down, which with a time fault left them on five penalties.

The Americans were down to three horses after one of their quartet had to be withdrawn injured.

Germany seized bronze in a jump-off against Canada after the two finished the second day level on eight penalties.

For Rozier, who was first to jump on Rahotep de Toscane, this was an especially poignant moment after his father Marcel’s success in the 1976 Games.

“The medal is in my father’s sitting room, now I’ve got my own!” Rozier said.

“It’s a childhood dream, and it’s happened,” added the 53-year-old at the Olympic equestrian centre in Deodoro.

“My father told me it was the best present that he could ever have, 40 years later.

“I was always proud to be the son of an Olympic champion and now we have two gold medals in the family.”

France’s triumph was all the more impressive considering the problems the team has had to contend with in Rio.

The number two rider in the world Simon Delestre had to pull out after his horse suffered an injury in his box in Brazil.

Then teammate Penelope Leprevost’s horse Fleur de Mariposa had colic.

Staut related: “We have had a difficult time at the beginning of this week with Simon’s horse out and then the fall of Penelope.

“But it helped us to fight more. It was a tough week but we stuck together and we have great horses. I am very proud to be part of this team.”

French team manager Philippe Guerdat could barely believe the outcome.

“After the 10 days that we’ve just had, we never thought we’d find ourselves here. I reckon I’ve aged 20 years!”

For France, their success in Rio has helped them forget their luckless time at London 2012.

The Olympic equestrian competition finishes on Friday with the individual jumping title.