Equestrian at the 1972 Summer Olympics

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The Equestrian Events at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich included Show Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. All three disciplines had both individual and team competitions. The equestrian competitions were held at 3 sites: an existing equestrian facility at Riem for the individual show jumping and eventing competitions, the Olympic Stadium in Munich for the Nations Cup, and Nymphenburg, a Baroque castle, for the sold-out dressage. 180 entries, including 31 women, competed from 27 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, German Democratic Republic (GDR), France, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherland, Poland, Portugal, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA. The youngest participant was Francoise Thiry from Belgium at 17 years old, while the oldest rider was Lorna Johnstone from Great Britain at 70 years old.[1]

An outbreak of Venesuelan equine encephalitis broke out in Mexico before the Games, so the Mexican horses were not permitted into the host country. The IOC and FEI agreed to allow the Mexicans to lease horses in Germany for the show jumping and eventing competitions so that they may still compete. While this allowed the riders to attend the Olympics, the Mexicans had dismal results, including all four of the eventers being eliminated on cross-country.

Equestrian

The Disciplines[edit]

Show Jumping[edit]

74 riders from a total of 21 countries contested Hans-Heinrish Brinckmann's Olympic courses. The individual competition was held over 2 rounds. The course of the first round consisted of 14 obstacles and 17 jumping efforts over a 760 meter track, with several difficult individual fences. This included a 5 meter water, which produced 33 faults in the first round, and several massive oxers (four at 2 meters wide and a fifth at 2.10 meters) which all combined produced another 20 faults. Only 3 riders were able to produce a clear round, and 8 finished with only a knockdown. The second round was a 660 meter track with 10 obstacles and 13 jumping efforts. One rider who went clear in the first round was not in contention after the second. The two other clear rounds from the first course--Graziano Mancinelli and Ann Moore--had 2 rails apiece in the second for 8 faults. Neal Shapiro, one of the eight 4-faulters in round 1, finished the second round with only 1 rail so also finished both rounds with 8 faults. Therefore, a jump-off between the 3 riders decided who was to take home gold, silver, and bronze. Mancinelli managed a clear for the gold, followed by Moore who had 3 faults for silver, and then Shapiro who had two knock downs.

The Nations Cup was held in the Olympic Stadium, so horses were shipped out of Riem at 3:15 am to tent stabling nearby. Unlike the gold and silver medal winners, Shapiro managed another great performance for his team, finishing with 8.25 faults in round 1 and no faults in the second round, helping the USA finish with team silver.

Dressage[edit]

The 1972 Olympics saw great changes for dressage. First, the individual medals were only awarded based on the results of the ride-off, with the Grand Prix serving as a qualifying round for the ride-off, whereas before the scores from the Grand Prix and ride-off were added together to determine the winner. The judging also changed drastically. 5 judges, instead of 3, were on the panel, and two of the five were (for the first time) placed on the long side rather than having the entire panel sitting on the short side at C. Unlike recent decades where, due to accusations of unfair judging, judges were to be from non-competing countries, the 1972 Games allowed judges to be selected from countries competing in the Games and therefore to judge their own countrymen. The scores of all 5 judges were to count into the final score, rather than dropping the highest and lowest produced by the panel. Unfortunately this change in judging did not eliminate all problems. When the horse of French rider Patrick Le Rolland was lame during his test, Gustaf Nyblaeus (the judge at C) did not ring him out. Additionally, while 4 of the judges deducted points for the lameness to put him somewhere between 20th to 29th place, the inexperienced Mexican judge had him finishing in 7th place.

33 riders from 13 countries, who made up 10 full teams and a few individuals, competed at the Nymphenburg site. Despite this being the first time it was used for a competition, the castle proved to be a great success. However, there was a good deal of work performed to prepare it, including adding additional footing (80 cm of gravel, followed by 4mc of cinder and clay, then 6cm of a sand/wood shaving mix) to the already existing gravel of the park. Liselotte Linsenhoff won gold on Piaffe, making her the first woman to win individual gold in the equestrian events.

Dressage again showed the great age range possible in Olympic mounts, with 3 horses (Sod, Casanova, and San Fernando) at 17 years of age, and 1 horse (Granat) competing at age 7--who would return at the following Olympics at age 11 and win gold. 12 of the 33 mounts competing were 14 or older.

Eventing[edit]

60,000 spectators watched 73 riders from 19 nations competing on endurance day. The Roads and Tracks phases (Phase A and C) were held on flat ground. The cross-country test, designed by Ottokar Pohlmann, saw quite a few problems. Four fences in particular proved the most troublesome--producing a total of 38 refusals, 18 falls, and 7 eliminations--included a fence into the water (obstacle 12), a drop fence in a combination (obstacle 17a), a palisade up a hill (obstacle 18), and a ditch (obstacle 23).

The German team, despite the elimination of one of their top rider, Horst Karsten and Sioux, still managed to finish with a bronze medal, behind Great Britain (gold) and the USA (silver). The gold-winning British team included 2 women, with a third woman competing on the Canadian team. 48 of the 73 horses completed the competition, including a 5-year-old on the Argentinean team who finished next to last. 29 of the finishing horses were 8 years old or younger.

Medal summary[edit]

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Individual dressage
details
 Liselott Linsenhoff and Piaff
West Germany (FRG)
 Yelena Petushkova and Pepel
Soviet Union (URS)
 Josef Neckermann and Venetia
West Germany (FRG)
Team dressage
details
 Soviet Union (URS)
Yelena Petushkova and Pepel
Ivan Kizimov and Ikhor
Ivan Kalita and Tarif
 West Germany (FRG)
Karin Schlüter-Schmidt and Liostro
Liselott Linsenhoff and Piaff
Josef Neckermann and Venetia
 Sweden (SWE)
Ulla Håkansson and Ajax
Ninna Swaab and Casanova
Maud von Rosen and Lucky Boy
Individual eventing
details
 Richard Meade and Laurieston
Great Britain (GBR)
 Alessandro Argenton and Woodland
Italy (ITA)
 Jan Jönsson and Sarajevo
Sweden (SWE)
Team eventing
details
 Great Britain (GBR)
Richard Meade and Laurieston
Mary Gordon-Watson and Cornishman V
Bridget Parker and Cornish Gold
Mark Phillips and Great Ovation
 United States (USA)
Kevin Freeman and Good Mixture
Bruce Davidson and Plain Sailing
Michael Plumb and Free and Easy
James C. Wofford and Kilkenny
 West Germany (FRG)
Harry Klugmann and Christopher Robert
Ludwig Gössing and Chicago
Karl Schultz and Pisco
Horst Karsten and Sioux
Individual jumping
details
 Graziano Mancinelli and Ambassador
Italy (ITA)
 Ann Moore and Psalm
Great Britain (GBR)
 Neal Shapiro and Sloopy
United States (USA)
Team jumping
details
 West Germany (FRG)
Fritz Ligges and Robin
Gerhard Wiltfang and Askan
Hartwig Steenken and Simona
Hans Günter Winkler and Trophy
 United States (USA)
William Steinkraus and Main Spring
Neal Shapiro and Sloopy
Kathryn Kusner and Fleet Apple
Frank Chapot and White Lightning
 Italy (ITA)
Vittorio Orlandi and Fulmer Feather
Raimondo D'Inzeo and Fiorello
Graziano Mancinelli and Ambassador
Piero D'Inzeo and Easter Light

Medal table[edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  West Germany (FRG) 2 1 2 5
2  Great Britain (GBR) 2 1 0 3
3  Italy (ITA) 1 1 1 3
4  Soviet Union (URS) 1 1 0 2
5  United States (USA) 0 2 1 3
6  Sweden (SWE) 0 0 2 2

References[edit]