On Monday we already had the medal decision for the female and male individuals as well as for the squad competition. Here is an overview of the results and some impressions from the ECCO FEI World Championships.
Summary of the day: 2 gold medals and 2 silver medals for France, 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal for Germany. Denmark takes bronze in the individuals female decisions and Switzerland in the squad Championship.
Overall we have seen good sport on a high level these days. Since we had a litte change from this year on the medal decision was earlier than usual. Now the championships for individuals are composed of three tests instead of four, starting with a first round of compulsories, followed by the technical test and the freestyle in the second and final round. Squads only do compulsories and one freestyle. For some squads a second freestyle is performed during the Nations Cup.
This way, the freestyle has a much greater weight than the other two tests and additionally, it gives every vaulter the chance to show all three programs.
As always, we have seen a lot of emotions: Many vaulters have grown beyond themselves and were very satisfied with their performances. This is what we want to see at a World Championship!
Danielle Bürgi as the 27th starter combined flexility and strength at its perfection in her freestyle “about a journey through unknown land” on her horse Livanto. She showed a smooth freestyle for Switzerland and ended up on the 6th place with a final score of 8.289. She said: “I’m really relieved about my freestyle today, because the two last days we (Danielle and horse) weren’t really in harmony, but today we were, so I’m happy with that! For my first ever senior championship I’m satisfied with my performance.”
On the 5th place landed Kimberly Palmer from the USA, who showed a fantastic freestyle on the horse Rosenstolz and Laura Carnabuci on the lunge. She was definitely happy about it: “It was amazing today; I think I did the best performance I could. Actually, in all three rounds, so I’m super satisfied! The competition has been great!” She was rewarded with a score of 8.701 for her freestyle and a 8.415 in total.
Unfortunately, Averill Saunders, who performed incredibly well in the tech test, had a fall after rolling from the back to the neck. This probably costed her a possible medal for Canada on the horse Rockemotion with Nina Vorberg on the lunge, since she ranked on the 4th place after the first round right behind Kathrin Meyer.
She said about her start: “I’m sad that I fell off today, because it was not what I had planned and expected, but that’s the sport. I’m a perfectionist, so right now it’s though, but I will look forward and learn from the experience.”
Kathrin Meyer, competing together with her lunger Gesa Bührig and her horse Capitain Claus, ranking on place three after the first round, unfortunately fell back to the forth place. She had a strong freestyle but some slight insecurities.
Sheena Bendixen on the other hand was on fire and pushed by the Danish fans in the arena: “I was super focused when I entered the arena. But then I heard the applause, and I could feel how everyone was with us, and then I got really nervous, because the stakes were so high. When I got up and felt the horse, I could feel that there was so much power, so I had a bit of a shaky start. But I fought and bounced back, and I am just SO proud of that. And just to think that we in tiny Denmark can have an event like this. It is just so cool.”
As a result she was able to win the bronze medal for Denmark, especially thanks to her horse Ramstein together with her lunger Lasse Kristensen, who said:
“I could feel that Ramstein had the energy, so that we could push him a bit more to raise the score for the horse, which could be decisive today. But we played with fire, because it could go both ways. But we have trained it at home, and Sheena could handle it mentally today, so we did it. And won the bronze. And that is just crazy!”
The second last starter was Julia Sophie Wagner from Germany, who could stick with the silver medal after a solid clear freestyle to classic music out of a sad English poetry slam. Her incredible performance at this Championship together with her mother Katja Wagner on the lunge and the horse Giovanni was definitely a surprise, since it was their first one. She didn’t expect anything and ended up with the silver medal, so exciting!
The first ever gold medal in the individuals female category went to France with an unbelievable score of 8.963. Manon Moutinho showed a clear round and a freestyle full of high difficulties on her horse Saitiri. She said: “I don’t realise yet that I’ve won! It is amazing! Today I had to work a bit more in the arena, because my horse was a bit more nervous today. But I’m so happy with her, she did a great job. And I’m so happy with all my rounds!”
The male’s competition was a true thriller!
Lorenzo Lupacchini showed a nice, calm and elegant freestyle, which was completely new for this Championship. Together with his lunger Laura Carnabuci and his horse Rosenstolz scored a 8.614 in the championship. Unfortunately, he had some insecurities and couldn’t show his best:
“Today I made a brand-new freestyle, I’ve never shown before, so I was a little bit scared before going into the ring. I really wanted to show a good freestyle, but I made too many mistakes. But I’m very satisfied with the whole competition in general.”
Thomas Brüsewitz who entered the circle with his lunger Alexandra Knauf had bad luck with his horse Eyecatcher (Eike), who seemed a bit nervous. He fell back to the 7th place with a final score of 8.480:
“Today’s round of freestyle could have been better, I had some problems with my horse. But overall, the whole competition I’m satisfied, but of course I would have wished to show my freestyle perfectly.”
Sam Dos Santos from the Netherlands, competing at a Senior Championship with his 16 years, seemed to be a bit disappointed about the results, but definitely is a vaulter to watch in the future. His freestyle to the topic of “extraterrestrial art that can be interpreted in different ways” was interesting to watch and had some cool moves in it. He was rewarded with a score of 8.720 on place 5 and says:
“I had some difficulties today with the music, but overall, I’m happy. It has been a crazy journey. Just unbelievable.”
It was a real blast to watch Julian Wilfling from Germany with his Don Quijote freestyle, for which he got the first freestyle score over 9 (9.055) and in total a 8.816. He was apparently happy with it and his horse Aragorn:
“I’m very happy, but it was hard work, but we did fine. I’m really happy with my horse and satisfied with my performance.”
The third place and with that the bronze medal went to Germany. Jannik Heiland performed on his horse Dark Beluga lunged by Barbara Rosiny. He showed an elegant freestyle to the theme “Bionic” and got a total score of 8.833. He explains his theme as follows: “It’s when human copy things from the nature and recreate it with new technologies. I chose the theme because I like technology and engineering and I love the nature.”
He was satisfied with his last round and said:
“My round today went very well. I wasn’t nervous going in. I really like my theme and the music, so I just wanted to enjoy it, on my once in a lifetime horse, Dark Beluga. It’s been fantastic.”
As second last starter Quentin Jabet entered the circle with the horse Ronaldo lunged by the German Adda Boe. With a score of 8.837 he was able to make it to the podium and win the silver medal for France:
“I’m here in Herning with a whole new team and this was our first championship together, and today we just worked so well together, so I’m so, so happy with our performance, and happy about the silver medal!”
And also the gold medal went to France! With an incredible score of 9.399 Lambert Leclezio made the impossible possible: He won his 4th World Championship, every one of it with a different horse and lunger. He now is officially the vaulter with the most titles in the world and has decided to leave it at that. He will end his vaulting career after tomorrow’s Nations Cup.
About his last individual freestyle on the horse Estado he says:
“It’s amazing. The horse was so good and has been good in all the rounds. So I was more confident going into the last round with less stress. I took my time and just enjoyed it. We have worked so hard, and I’m very happy.”
The last competition was the squad freestyle. We have seen 14 teams in total.
As 5th competitor Team Spain showed a solid freestyle to the theme “Flamenco Fusion”, a whole new interpretation of flamenco. The arena was on fire and everyone noticed that the team is enjoying their time in the circle. With their horse Royal George Alexander and lunger Diane Fraser the finished on the 7th place.
With a score of 7.369 Team USA ended the competition on the 6th place, very close to the 5th. They showed a freestyle to the theme “Masquerade ball” with one sensation: Todd Griffiths competed with his daughter Miriam Griffiths in the same squad. We guess that’s unique in the Vaulting World!
Team De Wittegheit from the Netherlands competed on the horse Wim and showed a clean freestyle full of high difficulties. With that they could move up to rank 5 and were really glad about it:
“The freestyle today was sick! It’s the best we’ve ever done! We are so happy and satisfied! We are so ready for Nations Cup.”
With the Championships in their home country, Team Denmark (BIS Voltige) was really motivated to show their best on the horse Turbo af Kloster. They were truly into their “Dragon” theme and finished the competition with a total score of 8.184 on an amazing 4th place:
“We are very happy and satisfied. We enjoyed every moment in the arena and together with the horse. We feel that we were able to show what we can do when we are at home, which we are super happy with.
And then we just want to say thank you to everyone, who cheered us on. We have really been able to feel it all the way. So thank you so much.”
The three last starters were Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France. The thriller startet!
Team Austria had really bad luck with their horse Don Rudi. He was scared from the beginning on and the team had to leave the horse several times. They could show some good exercises and Don Rudi seemed to be fine, but suddenly exploded again, so that the team had to finish the competition. They couldn’t remain on tear 4th place and we would have loved to see more of their freestyle to the theme „Dream State“!
The third last starter, Team Lütisburg from Switzerland, showed a well thought through freestyle to the theme “Journey through the desert”. With a solid performance as a super team together with the horse Rayo de la Luz and their lunger Monika Winkler and a final score of 8.279 they won the bronze medal of this year’s World Championships:
“We worked really well together in the freestyle today and had time to really work with the music. So we are so satisfied with our round today, and super happy about the result.”
As the second last team, Team Norka from Germany entered the circle with the horse Calidor lunged by Patrick Looser. Ranking on the second place after compulsories with a difference of 0.128 to France there was still a chance to win the gold medal and they did it!
With a flawless and dynamic freestyle full of high difficulties they achieved a final score of 8.614 in the Mustang Corp. FEI World Vaulting Squad Championship and with that the gold medal for Germany.
Team France with already two individual gold and one silver medallist showed an interesting and gymnastically challenging freestyle with many never seen moves and exercises. Unfortunately, some slight insecurities and an probably unintentional dismount costed them the gold medal. But with the final score of 8.549 they were very close behind the Germans and we are sure there is more to come!
This competition was exiting until the last moment and we are happy about following it live. A thrilling final and we are eager to see a little more in the Nations Cup on Wednesday.
Source of all the quotes is Herning 2022.