Bruce Mandeville of Summerland, BC, emerged as the top-placed Canadian Olympic Eventing Team member on Tuesday upon completion of cross-country, the second of three phases comprising competition in the equestrian discipline of eventing. " /> Bruce Mandeville of Summerland, BC, emerged as the top-placed Canadian Olympic Eventing Team member on Tuesday upon completion of cross-country, the second of three phases comprising competition in the equestrian discipline of eventing. " /> Bruce Mandeville of Summerland, BC, emerged as the top-placed Canadian Olympic Eventing Team member on Tuesday upon completion of cross-country, the second of three phases comprising competition in the equestrian discipline of eventing. ">
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Bruce Mandeville Leads Canadian Olympic Eventing Team in Athens

Bruce Mandeville and Larissa on their way to becoming the top-placed Canadian Eventing Team members following cross-country at the 2004 Olympic Games. Photo ©TetleyPhoto.com

Bruce Mandeville of Summerland, BC, emerged as the top-placed Canadian Olympic Eventing Team member on Tuesday upon completion of cross-country, the second of three phases comprising competition in the equestrian discipline of eventing.

Mandeville, making his second consecutive Olympic appearance riding Larissa, jumped cleanly and incurred 10.80 time penalties to move up into 42nd position in the individual standings with a score of 77.20 penalty points. Following the opening phase of dressage, Mandeville, 44, and the 15-year-old Canadian-bred Trakehner mare owned by Franz and Elke Hollenbach were in 60th place.

“Larissa was great, she was right on the money and jumped well,” noted Mandeville who placed 22nd individually with Larissa at the 2000 Olympic Games. “I was much more laid-back than I was in Sydney. I knew what my mission was and I knew what I wanted to do personally. I also had a chance to watch the first hour and a half of competition, and it made me feel confident that everything rode safely.

“The cross-country course went up a hill and back down and was really beautiful, set in a Greek fishing town,” noted Mandeville of the 34-obstacle cross-country course designed by Albino Garbari of Italy that competitors had nine minutes, 46 seconds to complete. “Coming home, the horses started to get tired and a little long and flat. I was doing pretty well with my time until I started to come back down the hill. The course remained technical right to the end. Overall, the event was very well-run, organized and coordinated, and the people are very helpful and friendly.”

Mandeville’s teammate Mike Winter of Toronto, ON, follows close behind in 44th position with a two-phase score of 80.00 penalty points riding Balista, a 14-year-old thoroughbred gelding owned by Emeline Loughlin. Winter, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Monday, added 16.80 time penalties to his score partly due to taking a long route at the first water complex.

As the first rider out on course for the Canadian Team, Garry Roque, 44, of Caledon East, ON, acted as the pathfinder. Instructed by International Technical Advisor Jimmy Wofford to take the long routes at some of the obstacles, Roque jumped clearly but incurred 45.60 penalty points in the process riding Wiakura, 13-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding owned by Gustav Quast. Sitting in 52nd position following dressage, Roque moved down to 59th in the standings.

Hawley Bennett, 27, of Langley, BC, had been leading the Canadian contingent following dressage but had a disappointing cross-country performance, adding 40 jumping and 54.80 time penalties to her score for a total of 156.00 penalty points, falling 20 spots to 67th position in the individual rankings. Bennett, the youngest competitor and the only female on the five-member Canadian Olympic Eventing Team, was riding her long-time partner Livingstone, a 14-year-old Canadian thoroughbred gelding.

Ian Roberts, 45, of Port Perry, ON, was getting close to home when he fell at fence 25. Uninjured, Roberts remounted to complete the course riding Mata-riki, an 11-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding owned by his wife, Kelly Plitz. The 85 jumping penalties and 52 time penalties he incurred gave Roberts a two-phase total of 207.60 and put him 70th in the standings.

Despite three clear jumping performances from Mandeville, Roque and Winter, time penalties moved Canada into 13th position in the Team standings with a two-phase total of 266.20 penalty points. Team scores are determined by using the best three scores of the five-member teams.

“We were happy to have all five riders finish the course and come home safely,” noted Canadian Eventing Team Manager Greg Paull. “It would have been nice if the three clear jumping performances had moved us up in the standings, but the time penalties determined otherwise.”

On a positive note, the Canadian Eventing Team was commended by the veterinary commission for its cooling-out procedures and the fitness levels of the horses, who had the fastest recovery times of all the nations. This is of particular importance in equestrian sport where the welfare of the horse is paramount.

In the overall Team standings, France pulled ahead to overtake the lead. Adding nothing to its dressage score, France has a total of 113.40 penalty points while Germany moved into the second spot with 119.60 penalty points. The leaders after dressage, Great Britain fell to third position with a two-day total of 125.60. The United States and Australia, who remain in fourth and fifth positions respectively, are still within striking distance for a team medal.

Individually, Nicolas Touzaint, 24, of France remains at the top of the leader board after turning in a faultless cross-country performance riding Galan de Sauvagere, leaving his dressage score unchanged at 29.40 penalty points. Germany’s Bettina Hoy overtook second position by adding minimum time penalties to her dressage score for a two-phase score of 35.60 riding Ringwood Cockatoo while Kim Severson of the United States moved into third position with a clear round aboard Winsome Adante for a score of 36.20 penalty points.

Of the 75 competitors who started the cross-country phase, only four failed to complete. Wednesday, August 18, brings show jumping, the third and final phase of eventing competition. The first round will determine the Team Medals while a second round held later in the day will be used to determine the Individual Medal placings. All of the equestrian events are taking place at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Center.

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