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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 August, 2004, 05:03 GMT 06:03 UK
Law still chasing gold
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens

Britain's Leslie Law (l) could still take gold off Germany's Bettina Hoy

It was no wonder Leslie Law looked shell-shocked when he walked into a news conference at the Olympic equestrian centre shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

Law should have been celebrating the finest day of his career after adding an individual Olympic three-day event silver medal to the team bronze he had picked up earlier in the afternoon.

But in the back of the 39-year-old's mind there was still the possibility that he might become Britain's first gold medallist of the Games.

Whether that happens or not will hinge on the result of a three-way appeal from Britain, France and America that could end up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Rules are rules - and that's what has got to be looked at
Leslie Law

If Law was confused, one can only imagine what went through German Bettina Hoy's mind when she was told she might have to hand back her two golds.

With her husband Andrew failing to get among the medals as he tried to win a fourth straight team title for Australia, it must have made for some interesting pillow talk.

The final day of competition had been dramatic enough without the Hoy saga.

After losing top rider William Fox-Pitt and injured horse Tamarillo the previous evening, the British team responded by clawing their way up to bronze medal position.

Law and Pippa Funnell led the comeback with faultless showjumping displays, and the medal was theirs when American Julie Richards slipped up at the very last fence.

The army of British fans celebrated as the team was briefly promoted to silver - and France to gold - when Hoy was penalised for crossing the start line twice.

But a German appeal was upheld, depriving the USA of team bronze and putting Hoy back in the hunt for individual gold.

Despite shredded nerves, she collected just one penalty in her final round, and watched as French leader Nicolas Touzaint fell from first to ninth in one last dramatic twist.

Pippa Funnell
Funnell could still end up with bronze

While the medal ceremonies proceeded as planned, British, French and American officials talked excitedly into their mobile phones, deciding whether to challenge the result of the German appeal.

Law said: "I don't think anybody is trying to cause trouble, but at the end of the day, rules are rules - and that's what has got to be looked at."

Fox-Pitt insisted Law deserved a gold medal after putting together two perfect showjumping rounds under extreme pressure.

But there is one final obstacle to be jumped before Law knows whether he will be going home as Olympic champion.





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