London, England - Canadian Olympic Team member for Eventing, Jessica Phoenix of Uxbridge, ON, finished in 22nd position individually on Tuesday, July 31, at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, GBR. In her Olympic debut, Phoenix steadily climbed up the leader board. In 50th position following the opening phase of dressage competition, Phoenix jumped a clear cross-country round on Monday, incurring only 2.4 time penalties over the demanding track set in Greenwich Park to move up into 28th position. She entered the third and final phase of competition, show jumping, with a score of 57.20 penalty points.
In Tuesday's final show jumping phase, Phoenix and her mount, Exponential, a 14-year-old Canadian thoroughbred gelding owned by Phoenix, incurred 14 penalties after having three fences down and incurring two time penalties. Her performance qualified her for the Individual Final, contested by the top 25 ranked athletes in the individual standings. With two rails down for eight penalties, Phoenix finished the Olympic Eventing competition in 22nd place with a final score of 79.20 penalty points.
"Exponential was so good," said Phoenix, 28, who is the reigning Pan American Games champion, having won individual gold and team silver in Guadalajara, Mexico, riding Pavarotti. "I am so thankful that I got to repeat that show jumping round. He was so much more settled and focused really, really well on his job. He jumped amazing, and couldn't have been better. It was an awesome Olympic experience!"
Michele Mueller, 48, of Port Perry, ON, was the only other Canadian to complete the cross-country course designed by Sue Benson of Great Britain. However, Mueller opted not to present her horse, Amistad, a 13-year-old chestnut thoroughbred/Belgian-cross gelding owned by Julie-Anna Pring, at the final horse inspection on Tuesday morning.
Other Canadian Olympic Team members for Eventing Hawley Bennett-Awad, 35, of Langley, BC, riding Gin & Juice; Peter Barry, 56, of Dunham, QC, riding Kilrodan Abbott; and Rebecca Howard, 33, of Salmon Arm, BC, were eliminated on course during Monday's cross-country competition. As a result, the Canadian Olympic Team for Eventing finished in 13th position in the final standings with a total of 2,071.20 penalty points.
Germany claimed the gold medal with a total of 133.70 penalty points followed by Great Britain with 138.20 for silver. New Zealand moved ahead of Sweden to claim the bronze medal with 144.40 penalty points.
Individually, Michael Jung of Germany riding Sam won the individual gold with a final score of 40.60 while Sara Algotsson Ostholt of Sweden took individual silver riding Wega with 43.30 penalty points. Germany also claimed individual bronze with Sandra Auffarth guiding Opgun Louvo to a final score of 44.80 penalty points.
Often referred to as the triathlon of horse sports, Eventing is comprised of three consecutive phases. The first phase of Olympic eventing competition, dressage, was held over two days, July 28 and July 29, while the second phase, cross-country, was held July 30. Following a mandatory horse inspection, the third and final phase of competition, show jumping, took place on Tuesday, July 31.
The Canadian Olympic Team for Eventing is supported by Coach/International Technical Advisor David O'Connor; Chef d'Equipe Graeme Thom; Veterinarian Christiana Ober; Stable Manager Deb Furnas; Farrier Randy Pawlak; Team Manager Fleur Tipton; and Therapist Jo Ann Wilson. Kerri McGregor is the Team Leader for the Canadian Olympic Team for Equestrian and Tina Collins is Assistant Team Leader. Grooms include Meghan Baillie, Dana Cooke, Natalia Gurmankin, Amanda Jones and Colleen Loach.
For more information, including results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.
Photo: Canadian Olympic Team member for Eventing Jessica Phoenix and Exponential placed 22nd individually at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Photo Credit - Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com