On Top Down Under: Taylor Land Wins 2009 Sydney Youth Olympic Festival Individual Gold medal in Show Jumping
RELEASE: January 19, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Lexington, KY - To go halfway around the world and win is a monumental achievement – especially on a borrowed horse.
No one told show jumper Taylor Land.
The 16-year-old from Atlanta, GA peaked at the perfect time and came home with the Individual Gold medal at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
Taylor Land was part of the team that was fourth in the Nations Cup on Sunday and rode Tom McDermott’s Markovitch to win Gold.
“I couldn't have won this with out the support of my team and (Chef d’Equipe) Dick Carvin, and coach Francie Steinwedell-Carvin,” said Land. “This was an amazing experience and this medal is for the whole team.”
Land jumped off for the Gold medal with Rachel McGregor (who rode Rachel Higgins’ horse Dusty Rhodes) from New Zealand and showed her composure on the world stage. Both riders had four faults in the jump-off but Land was the quickest.
24 horse/rider combinations started the individual final and 13 came back for the second round. Land’s teammate, Kylie Wright, had four faults from the first round and jumped clear in the second. Wright returned to jump-off for the Bronze along with four other riders. Matthew Sampson of Great Britain riding Ben Blay's Sir Joindre won the tiebreaker.
The team of four: Land, Wright, Mavis Spencer and Jennifer Waxman put up a brave fight but ended up out of the team medals on Saturday behind New Zealand, who won Gold with 12 total faults and Australia who won silver with 16 faults.
In the first round, Wright and Land jumped clear, Waxman had four down and Spencer added nine faults.
They returned to the ring for the second round and Waxman got the most out of her horse, Shekky Express, she recovered from her disappointing first round to jump clear.
"I don't care if I have to pick this horse up, put him on my shoulders and carry him over these jumps, we will go clear,” she said.
Waxman made true on her promise.
Wright added eight faults, and Spencer had one down. Land’s second round was the drop score of 16.
Great Britain and the US were tied for bronze after the two rounds of the Nation Cup so Wright rode in a jump off against Britain's Mathew Sampson. She rode a faster round but had one down, Sampson jumped clear and secured Bronze for the Brits.
“We all owe a huge thank you to the Australian Olympic Committee for the invitation and for such a huge undertaking,” said USEF Director of Show Jumping, National Programs Jennifer Haydon. “Also with out the horse owner's generosity of their time and horses, this would not be possible.”
For more information please see http://www.olympics.com.au.