Makes History at 2002 World Equestrian Games
A Record 8 Medals Brought Home
de la Frontera, SpainSeptember 24, 2002The United
States Equestrian Team (USET) made history at the 2002 World Equestrian
Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, September 11-22. U.S. riders,
drivers and vaulters won a total of eight medals, doubling the
U.S.s best previous performance.
final tally for the U.S. was three Gold, three Silver and two
Bronze medals, by far the best U.S. performance at any World Equestrian
Games. U.S. teams won World Championship medals in six of the
seven disciplines, doing better than any country, including France,
who won seven medals in four disciplines, and Germany, who did
win nine medals, but in only three disciplines.
is a proud moment for all Americans, said USET President
Armand Leone, Jr. Not only does this record-setting performance
speak volumes about the ability, dedication and hard work of our
athletes and their support staff, but it is also a tribute to
the many thousands of Americans whose contributions to the USET
helped provide the resources needed to put our athletes in a position
to get the job done.
a combined score of 657.5 points, the U.S. reining team of Shawn
Flarida of Springfield, OH riding San Jo Freckles, owned by Michael
Harper; brothers Tom McCutcheon of Pilot Point, TX riding Conquistador
Whiz, owned by George Shifrin, and Scott McCutcheon of Whiteboro,
TX riding Inwhizable, owned by Inwhizable partners; and Craig
Schmersal of Menifee, CA, who rode Tidal Wave Jack, owned by B.S.
Syndicate, won the first-ever reining World Championship and became
the first reining World Champions in history.
Flarida emerged as the first-ever individual World Reining Champion
with a score of 221.5 points. Tom McCutcheon won the Silver Medal
after winning a run-off with Shawna Sapergia of Canada.
pride and gratitude for the Gold Medal he wore around his neck,
Craig Schmersal offered words of praise for the USET. The
support they gave was incredible, he said. They made
the experience more than I could have ever expected. I never thought
Id be treated so well at a competition.
McCutcheon echoed Schmersals sentiment. I cant
thank the USET enough for what they did for us. This was a great
occasion for the sport of reining.
emerging as World Champions were the members of the U.S. eventing
squad who made their trip to the World Equestrian Games worthy
of worldwide attention by winning the team Gold Medal. The members
of the U.S. Gold Medal eventing team were David O'Connor of The
Plains, VA riding Giltedge, owned by Jacqueline Mars, Christa
Badger and Jonathan Ireland; Kim Vinoski-Severson of Scottsville,
VA riding Winsome Adante owned by Linda Wachtmeister and Plain
Dealing Farm; Amy Tryon of Redmond, WA on her Poggio II; and John
Williams of Middleburg, VA, riding his horse Carrick.
the dressage phase of competition, the U.S. stood in second place
with a score of 111.80 penalties. However, the U.S. was second
to the favored team from Great Britain for only one night. After
the second phase of competition, the cross country, the U.S. had
the top spot with a two-phase score of 147.40.
Gold Medal came down to the final phase, the show jumping, where
Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist and WEG Team Captain David O'Connor
had the teams only clear round. OConnor was one of
only eight out of the 47 who competed who went clear. He ended
up with a score of 64.60 penalties which put him in tenth place.
showed true team spirit by participating in the final phase after
a fall on cross-country that left her a bit sore. However, she
did not show her pain, having only one rail down and giving the
team a good head start as the first U.S. rider for the day. Vinoski-Severson
knocked three rails down, but still finished a strong sixth overall
with a score of 57.80. More importantly, she kept the U.S. team
in the game.
and Carrick entered the ring with more pressure than anyone should
have at their first World Championship. As the leader, Williams
performed last. The pair had two rails in hand, but the course
of sixteen efforts was not easy. While Williams did have four
rails for sixteen faults which dropped him out of the medals,
he still finished an impressive fourth with a score of 53.00,
and more importantly helped to give the United States the team
was thrilled, Williams said. We all came here thinking
about team medals, not individual, and I am delighted to be part
of the World Championship team!
U.S. dressage squad captured the team Silver Medal with a combined
score of 5527 points. Germany won the team Gold with a score of
5642 and Spain took the Bronze with 5403. The finish marked the
best finish ever for a United States dressage team in any World
Championship or Olympic Games.
U.S. squad consisted of Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID on Brentina,
owned by Perry & Peggy Thomas; Lisa Wilcox of Thousand Oaks,
CA riding Relevant, owned by Gundula Vorwerk and Dr. Claus Crone-Munzebrock;
Susan Blinks of Wellington, FL, riding Flim Flam, owned by Fritz
Kundrun and Dressage Sponsor Corporation and Guenter Seidel of
Del Mar, CA on Nikolaus 7, owned by Dick and Jane Brown.
the U.S. dressage riders also turned in this countrys best
performance in history. McDonald and Brentina finished fourth
by the slimmest of margins with a score of 233.460 (82.700). Wilcox,
riding Relevant, was right behind in fifth place with a score
of 232.530 (82.650). Never before has the U.S. placed two riders
in the top five in a dressage World Championship.
felt that she and her teammates, in all disciplines, were able
to perform so well because of the back-up and support provided
by the USET.
USET was fabulous, she said. Jim Wolf, Jessica Ransehousen,
Marilyn Adams all of them were running like crazy doing
everything for us. They were there for us every single minute.
Never once did we have to go looking for them. They took care
of all the details so we could focus on our goals, and they were
key in our being able to come home with a medal. Quite simply,
we couldnt have done it without the USET.
United States Four-In-Hand team of Jimmy Fairclough of Newton,
NJ driving a team owned by Fairclough and Jane Forbes Clark; Chester
Weber of Ocala, FL, driving his team; and Tucker Johnson of Hobe
Sound, FL driving a team he co-owns with Mr. and Mrs. James Johnson,
also made history in Spain when they won the team Silver Medal.
Prior to the 2002 World Equestrian Games, the best finish the
U.S. had ever had at a Four-In-Hand World Championship was fourth
place in 1984 and 1986.
the conclusion of the opening dressage phase, the United States
was in first place with 78.72 penalties. After the marathon, the
United States drivers were in second place with a two-phase score
of 286.52 penalties. All three drivers on the U.S. team went clear
in the concluding cones phase to finish with a three-phase score
of 286.52 penalties to give the U.S. its first-ever Four-In-Hand
medal. In close contention for an individual medal, Tucker Johnson
finished fourth individually and Weber was just behind in fifth.
whose top finish by a U.S. driver earned him a record sixth USET
Four-In-Hand Championship, credited the USET for the driving teams
best performance ever in a Four-In-Hand World Championship. The
USET made a huge effort to support us and that made a big difference,
also acknowledged the USETs role in the drivers medal-winning
performance. We owe a big thanks to the USET for letting
us train at Gladstone prior to coming over here. That made a big
difference in how well prepared we were at this event.
the show jumping squad of Leslie Howard of Westport, CT riding
Priobert De Kalvarie owned by Higher Ground Farm; Nicole Shahinian-Simpson
of Westlake Village, CA riding El Campeons Cirka Z owned
by El Campeon Farm; Peter Wylde of Medfield, MA, riding Fein Cera
owned by the Fein Cera group; and Beezie Madden of Cazenovia,
NY, riding Judgement owned by Iron Spring Farm, just missed a
team medal, Wylde did win the individual Bronze, the first individual
World Championship medal by a U.S. show jumper since Michael Matz
won the Bronze in 1978.
was the first U.S. show jumping rider to qualify for the Final
Four since Greg Best and Gem Twist qualified in 1990 at the first
World Equestrian Games held in Stockholm, Sweden. Qualifying to
ride in the Final Four meant that Wylde had to jump the final
course not only on his own horse, but also on each of the other
three competitors horses as well. Wyldes horse, Fein
Cera, the only horse with no knockdowns with any rider in the
final phase, was named the Best Horse of the Championship.
In the team show jumping, the U.S. finished sixth after an exciting
Nations Cup which saw the U.S. still in medal contention when
its final rider entered the ring. Had two-time Olympic medalist
Leslie Howard gone clean, the U.S. would have won the team Bronze.
Although Howards two rails dropped the team to sixth, the
long-time USET veteran felt the teams showing in Jerez was
a good one.
think all our riders rode well, she said, and we showed
that were right there with the worlds best. Peters
medal meant a lot to all of us and we conducted ourselves as a
true team in every way.
really owe a big thank you to Sally Ike and the USET who were
there for us every step of the way. They provided great support
for the athletes in all the disciplines.
the first time the USET had responsibility for vaulting and sent
a team to the 2002 World Equestrian Games. Devon Maitozo of Acton,
CA, won the individual Bronze Medal in the mens division
with a score of 8.612. The best U.S. finisher in the womens
division was Pamela Geisler of Diamond Bar, CA who finished in
eighth position with a score of 8.209. In the team competition,
the U.S. vaulting squad, F.A.C.E. of Moorpark, CA, finished in
have never worked with an organization like the USET who was there
to help and really did help the competitors,
said vaulter Eric Martonovich of Golden, CO. It was wonderful!
We couldnt have done it without them. They were all just
so helpful. I have never felt more supported in anything Ive
tried to do.
endurance, the U.S. squad finished in fifth place overall. The
three U.S. riders that completed the race were Beverly Gray of
Park City, UT, who placed 19th on her Regalidon in a ride time
of 11:05:20; Cia Reis of Pennsdale, PA, who was 31st riding Catch
A Wave, owned by Alex and Cia Reis, in 11:43:05; and Stephen Rojek
of Woodstock, VT who finished 32nd on his Finally in a ride time
the 2002 World Equestrian Games showed that when it comes to equestrian
sports, the United States is second to none. The U.S. was the
only country to medal in six of the seven disciplines. In the
team championships, the U.S. placed first in two, second in two,
fifth in two and sixth in one. In the individual championships,
the U.S. had an individual finish fourth or better in six of the
seven disciplines including one first place, one second, two thirds,
four fourths and two fifths.
USET Chef de Mission Jim Wolf said, Everyone came here believing
in themselves. They felt they could do well and they did!
The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization
that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest
possible standard to represent our country in major international
competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development
of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides
the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest
potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908)
234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org