Lima, Peru—Aug. 9
After Brazil’s Marlon Módolo Zanotelli cleared the final fence of the second round of today’s clean slate individual final on Sirene de la Motte, he threw his hands in the air in celebration. And with good reason—he’d just kept his nerves in check and put in a perfect performance with his second clear round of the day.
The three riders who came after him—all of whom were clear in Round 1—couldn’t match his score, giving him the gold medal at the Pan American Games.
“The second round, I just tried to keep myself calm, because I know my mare,” said Zanotelli, who picked up gold with his team two days ago. “If I give her a really good chance, she’s always going to jump a clear round, I just have to keep my nerves in place. I was in a good position. I was first to go from the clears, and I knew if I was clear I was going to put pressure on the others, and what I really wanted here was a medal no matter what, silver or gold or bronze. Luckily it was the gold one today.”
José Maria Larocca and Finn Lente came closest to his round, leaving all the jumps in the cups and accruing just a single time fault to finish with silver for Argentina.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Larocca. “It was the dream. This dream started four years ago [at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games] when we took the silver medal as a team. This time, unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the podium as a team, but I had the opportunity to make it as an individual, so I’m very happy and incredibly proud of my horse and of my team. I’m living my dream today.”
With the top two medals clinched, that left four riders—Beezie Madden (Breitling LS) and Eve Jobs (Venue d’Fees des Hazalles) representing the United States, Canadian Nicole Walker (Falco van Spieveld), and Mexico’s Eugenio Garza (Armani SL Z)—tied on 4 faults apiece, forcing a jump-off for bronze.
Madden went first, setting the pace with a zippy clear over Guilherme Jorge’s track. Walker ticked a single rail in the jump-off, and Jobs took two. Garza’s mount stopped at the second fence, and he elected to retire, giving Madden her second bronze medal of the week.
“It’s always a little tough going first, but I thought, ‘You know, it’s kind of winner-take-all, though,’ ” said Madden, Cazenovia, New York. “It was similar to [the 2008 Olympic Games]. I think we had more in the jump-off in Hong Kong, but it was for a medal or no medal, so you just kind of have to lay it out there and go as fast as you could and still leave the jumps up.
“I think lots of credit goes to my horse,” Madden added. “He’s a naturally quick horse. I’ve done quite a few jump-offs with him, so I thought it was good to have that experience going into that pressure round.”
Jobs was thrilled to finish fifth overall behind Walker.
“She jumped great all the rounds I did today and I couldn’t be happier with the result,” she said of “Venue.” “I’ve had her for about two years, and she’s taken me to a new level in the sport. I owe everything that I’ve done to her in these championships. She just gives me so much confidence, and I’m so proud of the partnership that we have.”
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Check out our July 22 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine, our Pan Am preview issue, for more information about the competitors, and be sure to read the September 2 issue to get full analysis from the Games. What are you missing if you don’t subscribe?