Appeal gives United States bronze finish

ATHENS, Greece -- France was awarded the gold medal in the
three-day equestrian team event and Britain's Leslie Law got the
individual gold after three countries won a joint appeal against an
earlier decision that gave both victories to Germany.

The ruling Saturday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport means
Germany drops to fourth in the team event while Britain gets silver
and the United States takes the bronze.

Since the team event was also a qualifier for the individual
medals, the decision stripped Bettina Hoy of her gold medal, giving
it to Law. American Kim Severson moved up to silver from bronze and
Pippa Funnell of Britain took third.

"We have to accept that decision, but it's too much to take,''
Reinhardt Wendt, the leader of Germany's equestrian team, said.

In an official statement, CAS said it decided that the judges'
decision to impose a time penalty on Hoy "was of a purely factual
nature, falling within its exclusive jurisdiction.''

CAS said the judges' decision shouldn't have been reversed by
the International Equestrian Federation because the body had no
right to do so.

The decision cannot not be appealed.

Initially, the judges gave Germany the gold and France the
silver, while Britain took bronze.

But the same officials, concerned that Hoy might have crossed
the start line twice on the show-jumping course, then docked
Germany 14 points, dropping it from first place to fourth with
147.8 points in a decision that lifted the United States to third.

Germany then lodged a protest and an equestrian appeals
committee reversed the judges' decision -- and the Germans reclaimed
their gold. Again, France was awarded the silver and Britain the
bronze. The United States was left empty-handed.

"It was a shame we had to go to CAS. The eventing world is a
close community,'' said Will Connell, team leader for the British
three-day event team.

"I had sympathy for Bettina, but at the end of the day she made
a silly mistake.''

The appeal submitted by the three countries to CAS challenged
whether the equestrian appeal committee had the jurisdiction to
overturn the judges' decision.

Henri Serandour, head of the French Olympic Committee, said he
was happy with the result but refused to act jubilant.

"From the beginning, I asked for an appeal not to create
controversy but to get to the truth, to find out why an appeals
committee was allowed to change the ruling of a ground jury,'' he

"CAS has upheld the judges in their capacity. I am always happy
when the rule is respected. I am also happy for the riders, who
displayed an exemplary attitude.''

The CAS panel assigned to hear the case was chaired by South
African judge Deon van Zyl. Other members included Canada's Richard
McLaren and Pandelis Dedes of Greece.