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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 August, 2004, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Eventing chaos explained
Leslie Law

Olympic fans have come to expect controversy and scandal, but the genteel world of equestrianism had managed to keep its head well above water.

That was until Athens 2004, when chaos reigned during the closing stages of the three-day eventing.

After a second appeal, France eventually won team gold, with Britain's Leslie Law taking the individual honours.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

The debate started after top German rider Bettina Hoy had completed her showjumping round, the last component of the team event - which also included dressage and cross country.

She jumped clear to hand Germany team gold and set herself up to later win the individual event as well.

One hour later, officials, who had noticed that Hoy crossed the start line twice, decided to award her 12 penalty points, relegating her team out of the medals, lifting France into gold, Great Britain into silver and the USA into bronze.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

Germany appealed the competition's grand jury decision, admitting that Hoy had crossed the starting line in her warm-up but that the clock did not start and saying that she would have kept going had it done so.

They won and were reinstated into gold medal position, but that was not the end of the story.

Although the medal ceremony went ahead, representatives from the British, French and American teams launched an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

On Saturday, that appeal was also declared successful, reinstating France to team gold and handing Law victory.

WHAT EXACTLY WAS HOY'S DEBATED INFRINGEMENT?

Eventing rules state that riders are allowed 45 seconds after the bell rings to begin their round.

During that period Hoy went across the start line but did not commence her round, making a circle instead.

The judge had already started timing and counted 14 seconds, before putting the clock to zero again when she crossed the line a second time.

Factoring in Hoy's recorded time, which was two seconds inside the 90-second limit, officials initially gave her 12 penalty points.

WHICH MEDALS WERE INVOLVED?

This is where things got even more complicated.

FINAL MEDAL STANDINGS
Team:
1 France
2 Britain
3 USA
Individual:
1 Leslie Law (GB)
2 Kimberly Severson (USA)
3 Pippa Funnell (GB)

After the team controversy, the best-placed riders overall had a second round of showjumping to decide individual gold.

Hoy came out on top again, with Great Britain's Leslie Law in second place, American rider Kim Severson third and Britain's Pippa Funnell in fourth.

Hoy's second round was not up for debate, but the appeal against her first passed gold to Law, while American Kimberly Severson took silver and Briton Pippa Funnell bronze.



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