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It's gold in Greenwich for Team GB equestrian team after high drama
GREENWICH saw Britain pick up a historic gold medal today, as our equestrian show jumpers edged out the Dutch riders in a nail-biting finale.
With both countries’ riders notching up eight penalty points between them, the event entered a ‘jump off’ between the two nations to decide which team would finish first.
Earlier, Nick Skelton and his horse Big Star got a clear round, followed by an equally impressive ride from Scott Brash on Hello Sanctos, to a rapturous reaction from the crowds at Greenwich Park.
Fellow riders Peter Charles and veteran Nick Skelton, contesting his sixth Olympics, picked up four penalty points each after knocking down bars.
But with the Netherlands matching that final score, there was high drama on the jumps, modelled on London landmarks like Tower Bridge, with four riders from each team going head to head and only the top three scores counting.
Skelton returned to the course first and this time managed a clear round to an overjoyed reaction from British fans packed into the arena. His time of 47.27 was just quicker than Jur Vrieling who also cleared the course, clocking 48.54.
Maher also managed to avoid picking up any penalties, while Michael Van Der Vleuten knocked down two fences, picking up eight penalties.
The tension was almost unbearable as Brash returned to the course, taking down one fence and being penalised four points.
He was followed by Dutchman Marc Houtzager whose slow time also saw him pick up the same number of penalty points.
But it was Peter Charles who was the hero, clearing each and every fence to clinch the all important gold and break the nervous silence which had gripped Greenwich.
It means Great Britain pick up their first gold in the event since 1952.
Skelton said he was more nervous watching his team-mates than riding himself, telling BBC3: "I wish I could have gone four times.
"They've done great, the lads have done great. Absolutely brilliant. I've got a wonderful horse, wonderful owners, it's a dream come true."
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