Australia's Equestrian Gold medal moments - A look back over some Olympic Hi-lites
International Olympic Day dates back to 23 June 1894 when the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, formally established the International Olympic Committee and revived the ancient tradition of the Olympic Games.
In the years that have passed, the Games have grown to become one of the world’s most captivating sporting events. Now just over a month away, the Games of the 30th Olympiad, hosted by the historic city of London, are certain to bring the world’s population to a standstill as athletes strive for the ultimate glory – Olympic Gold.
In this Olympic year, we thought we would take a walk down memory lane and revisit Australia’s Equestrian gold medal moments.
Eventing: Team Gold - Laurie Morgan & Salad Days, John Kelly (Reserve), Neale Lavis & Mirrabooka, Bill Roycroft & Our Solo, Brian Crago & Sabre.
Eventing: Individual Gold – Laurie Morgan & Salad Days.
The Australian Equestrian Team’s second outing at an Olympic Games resulted in two Eventing gold medals. The team started strongly but looked to be out of contention after Bill Roycroft took a tumble on the cross-country course. Roycroft finished the course but was injured and airlifted to hospital, dashing the hopes of the Australian team. Australia had a chance of winning gold, but three riders needed to complete and Brian Crago’s horse (Sabre) had been withdrawn at the end of the second day. Determined not to let his team down, 45-year-old Roycroft discharged himself from hospital against doctor’s orders and with one arm in a sling he was lifted onto his horse to ride a clear show jumping round, leading the Australian Team to a gold medal. In addition to their Team gold medal (only one medal was awarded to the whole team), Laurie Morgan (Salad Days) also won individual gold and Neale Lavis (Mirrabooka) individual silver.
Eventing Team Gold – Matt Ryan & Kibah Tic Toc, Andrew Hoy & Kiwi, Gillian Rolton & Peppermint Grove, David Green & Duncan
Eventing Individual Gold – Matt Ryan & Kibah Tic Toc
(Photo: Gillian Rolton and Peppermint Grove)
The achievements of the 1992 Barcelona Eventing team broke Australia’s 32 year gold medal drought in this event. Australia came from behind to defeat New Zealand who had a convincing lead over the field after cross country. Unfortunately the New Zealand Team spent their rail advantage after team member Andrew Nicholson dropped nine rails which gave Aussie Matt Ryan one rail to spare. Matt was all clear until the last jump which he knocked, but his 1.2 penalty lead was enough to win gold for Australia. Matt also went on to win the individual event by a convincing 10.7 penalties.
Eventing: Team Gold – Wendy Schaeffer & Sunburst True Blue, Phillip Dutton & Girdwood, Andrew Hoy and Darien Powers, Gillian Rolton & Peppermint Grove
Australia was in sixth position after the Dressage phase but moved into first after three clear and fast cross country rounds from team members Schaeffer, Dutton and Hoy.A nasty fall on the flat saw Rolton fall and break her collarbone but she bravely continued and finished the course. Fortunately she wasn't needed to ride the next day. With just a few rails down in the show jumping phase Australia secured the Team gold. Wendy was highest placed team member and at just 21 years of age gained her place in the record books as the youngest woman to have won Olympic Equestrian gold.
Eventing: Team Gold – Andrew Hoy and Darien Powers, Stuart Tinney & Jeepster, Matt Ryan & Kibah Sandstone, Phillip Dutton & House Doctor
Australia led the competition from the start, a position that it had not been in before. On the final day Australia held off a spirited challenge from the British to take the team gold on home soil. “It was a moment that I was privileged to experience, a highlight of my life,” recalls proud team member Stuart Tinney. Andrew Hoy and Swizzle In also contested the individual competition and brought home the silver medal for this event.
Click here to view our picture tribute to our Gold Medal heroes