Sunday, October 10, 2010
Updated: October 12, 9:26 AM ET
U.S. second in driving competition
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The United States won team gold in vaulting on the final day of the World Equestrian Games on Sunday.
The competition ended with finals also in vaulting, driving and para dressage.
Vaulting requires the athletes to perform gymnastic-like movements while on a moving horse. Germany won silver and Austria received bronze.
"This is immeasurable," said Devon Maitozo, one of the gold medalists. "This is an amazing opportunity to put vaulting on the map in the United States. Maybe people will know the sport exists in small-town America. This is just a culmination of a lot of years of very hard work. The most amazing thing for me is to share this with my team. We have worked so hard."
The team competition is made up of a compulsory test that requires vaulters to perform seven designated exercises as well as two freestyle tests. The Americans' freestyle routine was a loose interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.
"We hoped to embody the essence of the play with our movement and some of characters," said Rosalind Ross, who played Juliet.
Driving concluded with the cones course. The competition was delayed several times because of a malfunctioning timer.
In driving, scores from the cones course, marathon and dressage are combined to determine a winner. The Netherlands won the team competition, while the United States was second and Germany was third.
The individual competition was won by Australia's Boyd Exell, who led after each of the separate events. The Netherlands' Ijsbrand Chardon, who had his carriage vandalized earlier in the week, was still able to win silver. The United States' Tucker Johnson, who is retiring from driving, was third.
"All season, Ijsbrand and I have been neck and neck," Exell said. "It sounds like a cliche, but it hasn't sunk in yet."
In the final para dressage competition, Britain's Sophie Wells won the grade IV freestyle test. Belgium's Michele George was second and the Netherlands' Frank Hosmar was third.
The closing ceremony featured a concert by Lyle Lovett. Total attendance for the games was 507,022.
"We want these games to be remembered for what they have done for the world of horse sport," International Equestrian Federation president Princess Haya of Jordan said.
The next games will be held in Normandy, France in 2014.