|Date||15 – 18 August 2004|
|Location||Olympiako Kentro Ippasias Markopoulou, Markopoulo|
|Participants||75 from 23 countries|
|Format||Dressage, cross-country, and jumping. Top 25 after first round of jumping advanced to second round of jumping - limit of three riders per nation.|
Pippa Funnell of Great Britain had dominated eventing in 2003, winning the )Grand Slam of Eventing) with victories at Burleigh, Lexington and Badminton, but it was felt the change of format was detrimental to her chances. The husband and wife pairing of Australian Andrew Hoy and his wife Bettina, riding for Germany, were expected to figure prominently as were riders from France, including World champion Jean Teulère, the USA and New Zealand. The competition ran concurrently with the team competition with the addition of an extra round of jumping for the top 25 in the standings which would decide the individual medals.
Nicolas Touzaint of France held the lead after the dressage phase with Pippa Funnell and Bettina Hoy close on his heels. The use of the short format cross-country phase meant that over three-quarters of the field finished without either a fall or a refusal and also that a finish within the time limit became even more important. Most of the top riders kept in contention though Andew Hoy suffered a fall and Funnell conceded ground when her horse was too slow around the course. Touzaint increased his lead slightly with Bettina Hoy moving to second and American Kim Severson third. The fifth and six placed riders Ingrid Klimke of Germany and Britain’s William Fox-Pitt withdrew prior to the compulsory veterinary inspection when it became apparent that their horses could not continue.
Touzaint and Severson both knocked one fence down in the first round of jumping whilst Bettina Hoy appeared to have produced a faultless round and closed the gap on the leader. During the intervals between the two rounds the Grand Jury announced that Hoy had been penalized with 14 time faults. Television pictures revealed she had crossed the start line, triggering the electronic timing, and then turned full circle and crossed the start line again. A meeting of the Jury of Appeal was convened after a German protest and “In the interests of fairness” Hoy’s score was returned to its’ original mark. The judge in charge of the timing had, against the rules, re-set the primary timer to zero when the rider passed the starting beam on the second occasion. An FEI spokesman said that “The change of the result is due to a wrong start procedure, which has been confirmed by the jury.”
Eleventh after the cross country, Leslie Law had posted a clear round in the first round of jumping and the Briton repeated this feat in the second round. He then watched as both Funnell and Severson knocked a single fence over and fell behind him in the standings. It was then the turn of Bettina Hoy to compete, but she also made a single mistake and was also over the time allowed although it was enough to keep her ahead of Law. The last rider was the leader, Touzaint, his advantage was such that he could afford to knock over two fences and still win the gold. Touzaint’s chances, even of a medal, were over before the halfway point of the round. He knocked down four fences and added three time penalties as well to ensure that Bettina Hoy was Olympic champion.
The French, British and US teams immediately launched an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) concerning the results. On 20 August the CAS released their decision, stating that the judges’ decision should not have been reversed by the FEI because the body had no right to do so. The Jury of Appeal had only the right to make decisions regarding the interpretation of rules and the CAS said it decided that the judges’ decision to impose a time penalty on Hoy “was of a purely factual nature, falling within its exclusive jurisdiction.”
Hoy’s added penalties meant that she dropped back to ninth place and Leslie Law was elevated to Olympic champion. Severson and Funnell moved to silver and bronze respectively. Law had ridden his luck to the title, his horse Shear L’Eau was notoriously suspicious of water obstacles on the cross-country phase and had struggled in Athina to the point of landing on top of one of the fences. He struggled over the fence and was similarly lucky in both jumping phases when poles rattled, bounced but somehow stayed horizontal. Law had returned home before the CAS revealed their decision and had the unusual sensation of being told he was a gold medallist by phone call whilst riding in a competition for novice horses in the English Midlands. He was later awarded his medal during a reception for the British Olympic team at Buckingham Palace.
This was not the end of the controversy concerning the three-day event. In October 2004 the FEI revealed that two horses had returned positive dope tests, Austrian Harald Riedl and his horse Foxy XX were disqualified from the event but the circumstances concerning the other positive test were more contentious. It was revealed that Bettina Hoy’s horse Ringwood Cockatoo had hydroxy-diphenhydramine in his system. Hoy stated that she had approached a )man in a white coat) who she believed was an FEI vet and was given verbal permission to administer the drug. Despite the fact that written permission must be given before this drug can be legally administered to a horse, she was cleared of any wrongdoing and her results were allowed to stand. The “man in a white coat” has never been identified.
|10||Constantin Van Rijckevorsel||BEL||-58.4|
|AC||Julie Black-Burns Richards||USA||–||DNQ|
|AC||Raul de Senna||BRA||–||DNQ|
|AC||Rafael de Gouveira Junior||BRA||–||DNQ|
|AC||Joris Van Springel||BEL||–|
|AC||Harald Riedl||AUT||–||DNQDQ (horse doping)||1|