|Team USA gold medal winners of the team vaulting competition Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Lexington - Kentucky 2010 Â© Dirk Caremans|
Lexington, KY—If you asked the Team USA vaulters how they were feeling this afternoon, they’d answer with a chorus of screams. They feel that good, because they pulled out a come-from-behind win to earn the team gold medal at the Vaulting World Championships, held as part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Today was a contrast from the previous team freestyle competition on Friday, when two team members fell from their horse, because, said Maitozo, the team horse, Palatine, was spooky in the arena. The U.S. team had led after the compulsory exercises, but then dropped to third place after the fall, behind Germany and Austria.
To prepare for Sunday’s round, Maitozo said, “We made a different plan for the horse and for ourselves. We took a step back from the intensity of the energy before. We really calmed ourselves down, collected ourselves, and the horse had a longer warm-up but a much more calm warm-up.”
The plan worked, and the judges rewarded the U.S. team with the highest freestyle score of the day (8.779), which brought their composite score up to 8.029
|Team medals vaulting : 1 USA, 2 GER, 3 AUT with Mr Jorge Arias and Mr Steve Bourne Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Lexington - Kentucky 2010 Â© Dirk Caremans|
“We want it to be a dance,” said Maitozo. “We want it to be a drama of emotion, of movement, elegance – with the horse, not against the horse. We’re dancing with the horse, not on the horse.”
Other U.S. team members were Blake Dahlgren, Annalise Van Vranken, Mary Garrett, Mari Inouye and Emily Hogye. The team longeur and horse trainer is Carolyn Bland.
The experienced team previously won the 2010 United States Equestrian Federation/American Vaulting Association national title. Members of this team were also on the 2006 World Equestrian Games silver-medal team and the 2008 bronze-medal team in the World Vaulting Championships. Maitozo was the individual gold medalist at the 1998 World Equestrian Games.
“I would say this is probably one of the most experienced teams of all time,” Maitozo said. “Cumulatively, the years that this team has been vaulting is well over 120 years. We have a long relationship.”
|Team Germany silver medal winners in team vaulting competition Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Lexington - Kentucky 2010 Â© Dirk Caremans|
Team member Michaela Hohlmeier said, “It’s just sad, [but] it’s sports, so it can happen.”
Germany vaulted aboard Adlon, a 15-year-old Brandenburger, and the longeur was Alexander Hartl.
|Team Austria wins bronze medal in team competition vaulting Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Lexington - Kentucky 2010 Â© Dirk Caremans|
Team member Daniela Penz said “it was teamwork” that resulted in the team’s best freestyle performance this year. “Everyone wants a medal – and gets a medal!” she said
The Austrians were vaulting on Elliot 8 and, and the longeur was Klaus Haidacher.