Guadalajara, Mexico - In an unprecedented effort, the U.S. Eventing Team stormed to Team Gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in classic style. All five team members added nothing to their dressage scores, to finish on 138.6 - a feat never before achieved in a Team Eventing Championship. After winning the dressage, they jumped five spectacular clear rounds on Saturday's cross-country course, for the first time in anyone's memory and then sealed the victory at Club Hippica with double-clear show jumping.
"I would like to give a really special congratulations to my team," said Chef d'Equipe Mark Phillips. "Five people finishing on their dressage score - that's never been done before in the history of our sport."
Anchored by Buck Davidson (Ocala, FL), who led the way on Absolute Liberty as the pathfinder for the U.S. Team - he set a standard that the entire team maintained for three days. It was a truly phenomenal effort and all four of them finished within eight points of each other.
"We have really good horses, we were well-coached, we have a great staff and we came here with that mission - to put in personal bests," said Davidson. "And a big thanks to Mexico - it's been a great trip."
They head into this afternoon's Individual Jumping Final on the following scores:
- 2nd Michael Pollard (Dalton, GA) and Nathalie Bouckaert's Schoensgreen Hanni - 44.5
- 3rd Hannah Burnett (The Plains, VA) and Jacqueline Mars' Harbour Pilot - 45.2
- 4th Buck Davidson (Ocala, FL) and Sharon Will's Absolute Liberty - 48.9
Due to a PASO regulations, only three members of any one team can jump in the individual final, so unfortunately they do not get to jump for an individual medal. They were in fifth and sixth place individually after the Team competition.
- Shannon Lilley (Gilroy, CA) and The Lilley Group's Ballingowan Pizazz - 49.3
- Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, VA) and her own Donner - 52.2
The Individual jumping begins at 3:30 Central.
Follow the U.S. Team at the Pan American Games (photos, blogs and wall-to-wall coverage): http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2011PanAmGames/
Photo: The U.S. Eventing Team Wins the Team Gold Medal