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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Harland's brave display
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens

Georgina Harland (left) is congratulated by team-mate Kate Allenby
Modern pentathlon was devised by the founder of the modern Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, as the ultimate test of the "ideal, complete athlete".

And no one could argue that women's champion Zsuzsanna Voros did not deserve that title after dominating her rivals to take gold.

But anyone arriving late to see Britain's Georgina Harland celebrating in front of her jubilant family and friends would have thought she was the winner and not the Hungarian.

Harland produced a lung-bursting final run to claim bronze, despite starting a massive 51 seconds behind third-placed Italian Claudia Corsini.

And, as her mother Claire told the BBC Sport website, the 26-year-old did it just a fortnight after suffering a stress fracture of her right leg.

He seemed to come into every jump like an emu
Britain's Kate Allenby on her horse Babar
"She rang me two weeks ago and said 'mum, I've got my leg in plaster'," said Mrs Harland.

"I was at my lowest ebb, but she told me she was going to do it. She did a run with her boyfriend Charlie the other day and he said she had outrun him.

"We've been there before with Georgina and her storming finishes. This is what she tends to do. We call it a Tim Henman day."

After the medal ceremony, the Harland family headed off for a celebratory meal with Britain's three-day eventing team silver medallist William Fox-Pitt.

Berbero (Georgina Harland)
Age: 14
Colour: Bay
Characteristics: 'Easy to ride'
Points: 1144

Even Fox-Pitt would have struggled to get a decent performance out of Babar, the horse Kate Allenby had to ride in the showjumping event.

Allenby had fought her way up to silver medal position, following a poor start in the shooting, with a swashbuckling fencing display and a personal best in the 200m swim.

But Babar the gelding, picked out from the pool of horses by lot, decided he wanted no part in the Sydney bronze medallist's final Olympic dream.

"I don't know what went wrong," said Allenby. "He seemed to come into every jump like an emu.

"I had to drop his head to get him into position before every jump so he would get his feet off the ground.

"If I had to do it again, I don't know how I would do it differently."

Allenby, who slipped down to ninth after starting the final run seventh, was not the only one to suffer in the showjumping lucky dip.

Babar (Kate Allenby)
Age: 13
Colour: Bay
Characteristics: 'Needs light hand'
Points: 1004

China's Lean Dong was bucked clean out of the saddle by her horse Carina, slipping out of contention from fourth place.

World number one Harland was luckier with her mount Berbero.

But her hopes of emulating Steph Cook's golden success in Sydney had already been badly damaged after she finished the opening event, the shooting, down in 31st.

Harland admitted afterwards that the sessions the team had been having with a sports psychologist had helped her regain her focus and rally for bronze.

"With our sport you just have to leave an event behind and move on to the next one," she said.

"I just had to hang on in there and keep running, and it's never over until it's over."

Links to more Modern Pentathlon stories



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