ATHENS, Greece -- Germany kept its run of equestrian gold
medals intact Saturday, winning the team dressage at the Athens
Germany has won the team gold at every Olympics since 1976,
except for the boycotted 1980 games. It kept the streak going with
an average team score of 74.653 percent.
Spain was second at 72.917 percent, and the United States took
the bronze at 71.5 percent.
The drama over who would win the silver ended early, when
Beatriz Ferrer-Salat scored 74.542 on Beauvalais to clinch the
The U.S. medal hopes were buoyed early Saturday when Debbie
McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, scored 73.375 percent on her mare
Brentina, putting them briefly in the lead.
"I'm a little disappointed with the score,'' McDonald. "It
felt very good to me. I couldn't ask more.''
The United States, however, couldn't quite dig its way out of
the hole from its two lower scores on Friday.
Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, Calif., had scored 69.5 on Aragon,
and Lisa Wilcox, who lives in Germany, scored 68.792. Wilcox and
the U.S. team also had the disadvantage of drawing the first ride
in the competition. The top three scores from four riders count for
The bronze medal came down to the last riders for the Dutch and
the Americans. The anchor rider for the United States was Robert
Dover of Lebanon, N.J., on Kennedy, and he put up a solid 71.625
"Team dressage is like watching a play,'' said Dover. "The
play has momentum from the beginning. It's not so easy to pull
yourself up from that position. We were hoping for more points to
"Guenter did an amazing job with his young horse. I don't see
how Debbie could have done more. Her scores should have reflected
that. And I've seen Lisa do a similar test and receive many more
points than that.''
McDonald is fifth going into the individual competition on
Monday. Germany's Ulla Salzgeber leads on Rusty with 78.208
percent, followed by Ferrer-Salat. Anky van Grunsven of the
Netherlands is third on Salinero with 74.208, and Germany's Martin
Schaudt is fourth on Weltall.
Dover, who is ninth, and Seidel, in 16th, also will advance to
the individual competition, which includes the top 25 riders after
the team event. Wilcox, who finished 18th, won't be competing
because each country is only allowed three entrants.
Dressage is horsemanship's equivalent of gymnastics, performed
in an enclosed arena with no jumps. The horse is guided through
difficult steps and gaits by only slight gestures from the rider.