Queen’s Granddaughter’s Penalty Helps German Equestrians Win
Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, helped Germany win the gold medal in the equestrian team eventing at the London Olympics when she was penalized for hitting a fence and a slow ride.
Phillips, riding High Kingdom, cost the British team seven points at Greenwich Park in southeast London. Germany took gold with 133.70 penalties, compared with 138.20 for Britain. New Zealand won bronze with 144.40.
The German team of Peter Thomsen, 51; Dirk Schrade, 34; Sandra Auffarth, 25; Michael Jung, 30; and Ingrid Klimke, 44, added nine penalties today, compared with eight added by Britain. Knocking down a pole during the jumping tests costs a rider four penalty points, and there are additional faults for going longer than the 83 seconds allowed for the course.
“I messed up at the start but I told myself I had to get on with it,” Phillips, the 31-year-old daughter of Princess Anne, told reporters. “I’m very disappointed for the team and I hope I haven’t let them down.”
Teams are able to discount the results of two of their five riders, and Britain left out the scores of William Fox-Pitt, 43, and Nicola Wilson, 35, while keeping the tallies of Phillips, Mary King, 53, and Tina Cook, 41.
Germany’s Jung also won gold in the individual event after Sara Algotsson Ostholt, 37, of Sweden, who was in first place, knocked over the last jump and took silver. Auffarth won bronze for Germany.
“I was quite nervous. It is a long way from the warm-up area to the ring, and the nearer you get to the ring the more nervous you become,” Jung, who won gold at the world equestrian games in 2010 and the world cup last year, told reporters. “But once I am in there, I am focused.”
Phillips’s mother, who rode for Britain in the 1976 Olympics, presented her with her medal after watching the competition along with her daughter’s cousins, Princes William and Harry, and husband, Mike Tindall, a former England rugby captain.
“We should have been able to do more, but unfortunately they were too good for us,” Phillips told BBC TV. “It’s disappointing but, at the end of the day, we’ve got a team silver medal.”
Phillips’s performance also qualified her for the jumping contest in the individual eventing medal in which she jumped clear within the allotted time, finishing in eighth place.
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