VIDEO: British Olympic Gold Medalist Withdraws Midway Through Team Jumping Final at Tokyo Olympics

Published 08/07/2021, 9:25 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Equestrian – Jumping – Team – Qualification – Equestrian Park – Tokyo, Japan – August 6, 2021. Ben Maher of Britain on his horse Explosion W competes. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis


Great Britain arrived at the Tokyo Olympics as a favorite in the equestrian team jumping event. Although they qualified for the final, disaster struck midway during the event as star jumper Ben Maher withdrew.

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After the announcement, the 38-year-old revealed his horse’s welfare took priority.

Ben Maher withdraws midway through team jumping final in Tokyo Olympics

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The 38-year-old teamed up with Holly Smith and her horse Denver, and Harry Charles and his horse Romeo 88. Although both riders looked strong heading into Tokyo, it all fell apart in the team jumping final.

Smith started the opening round and incurred 16 penalties. Charles went next and incurred eight penalties. Although both riders set a total time of 162.46 seconds, the team believed there was nothing Maher could do to help them win.

Hence, the 38-year-old withdrew after the completion of two rounds. After the withdrawal, he admitted the welfare of his horse Explosion W is the most important aspect at this point in time.

He said“I’m not a quitter on the team, I always push to the end, but we’re an extremely long way off of any metal contention and he’s done everything for Team GB, and me as a rider, this week and the welfare of him [is the] priority.”

The new rule in show jumping at the Olympics counts the score of all three team members. Hence, Maher’s withdrawal ended their chance of clinching another equestrian medal.

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Maher: Winning gold today was always going to be tough

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Although Maher admitted his teammates made good progress, he admitted winning gold would be a difficult task, given the difficulty of the course.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Equestrian – Jumping – Individual – Medal Ceremony – Equestrian Park – Tokyo, Japan – August 4, 2021. Gold medallist Ben Maher of Britain rides his horse Explosion W as he celebrates. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

“We knew it was going to be tough, that it was a big course and a lot of very good horse-rider combinations were making mistakes. Holly and Harry are young riders, they’ve ridden incredibly tonight but unfortunately it hasn’t gone our way as a team.”

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Prior to today’s final, Maher won a gold medal in the individual jumping event earlier this week. The 38-year-old and his horse Explosion W, edged out Swedish rider Peder Fredricson and his horse All In in a nail-biting jump off. With this, he added another gold medal to his team jumping gold in the 2012 London Olympics.

WATCH STORY: Most Exciting Equestrian Jump-Offs at Olympic Games

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Sanket Nair

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Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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