Sweden beats U.S. by 1.3 seconds in thrilling jump-off for team show jumping gold

Posted at 6:21 AM, Aug 07, 2021

Sweden just barely came out on top against the United States in a golden jump-off for the Olympic team show jumping title. 

Both teams were knotted at one rail down each after the main round of competition, and the final headed into a heated jump-off for gold. All six horse and rider pairs rode the jump-off daringly, but in the final rotation, anchor rider Peder Fredricson ran the eight-jump course in a crushing 39.01 to lift Sweden to gold by 1.3 seconds. Fredricson also won individual silver three days earlier. 

This is Sweden's first gold medal in team show jumping since 1924. 

The U.S. team, made up of two-time Olympian Laura Kraut, five-time Olympian McLain Ward and Jessica Springsteen in her Olympic debut, took silver for the second Olympics in a row. For the Americans, the team competition was night and day compared to a disappointing individual competition, where Kraut, Springsteen and Kent Farrington, who didn't ride in the team event, missed the cut to advance to the final. Kraut, 55, became the oldest American woman to win an Olympic medal since 1904. 

Belgium slid into bronze when then-leader France tumbled out of contention after anchor rider Penelope Leprevost had a shocking elimination on the final trip of the main final.

Over four days of competition and 18 rounds of show jumping in Tokyo, Sweden had zero time penalties and just two rails down, both coming in the team final. 

In an unusual sight at such an elite level, two of the three Swedish horses jumped barefoot without horse shoes: Fredricson's All In and Henrik von Eckermann's King Edward. Five-time Olympian Malin Baryard-Johnsson rounded out Sweden's team with her mare Indiana

The Tokyo Games debuted a reformatted team show jumping competition where three, and only three, riders would jump in competition, with every score mattering. Previously, four riders would go for each team and the worst time would be dropped.