Olympics: Cook defies rain in masterclass

THRILLED: William Fox-Pitt

THRILLED: William Fox-Pitt

First published in Weymouth and Portland Sailing Olympics and Paralympics 2012 News

DOUBLE Olympic bronze medallist Tina Cook hopes the wet British summer will not play havoc with riders in today’s crucial cross-country test.

Cook and her Great Britain eventing team-mates, who in-clude Sturminster Newton’s William Fox-Pitt, hold third place in the team competition after dressage.

The British quintet are 7.9 penalties behind leaders and gold medal favourites Germany and 4.9 adrift of Australia, with Sweden and New Zealand tied for fourth.

Germany-based Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa is the shock overnight individual leader on a score of 38.10. Italian Stefano Brecciaroli is second and 56-year-old New Zealander Mark Todd, who is chasing his third Olympic title, lies one place behind.

Mary King and Imperial Cavalier remain the highest-placed British combination in 12th. Cook and Miners Frolic are 14th, Fox-Pitt (Lionheart) equal 17th, Phillips (High Kingdom) equal 24th and Nicola Wilson (Opposition Buzz) equal 39th.

Cook was faced with torrential rain, thunder and a threat of lightning during her dressage test in the main arena at Green-wich Park yesterday.

However, she coped superbly with the elements, though, as her score of 42 penalties kept Britain firmly in the mix for medals.

Attention now turns to course designer Sue Benson’s 28-obstacle cross-country track through the hilly and twisting terrain of Greenwich Park.

Cook said: “I have been eventing for 20-odd years and you do get this type of weather thrown at you.

“Unfortunately, we can’t stop the competition and say ‘I don’t want to do it now’.

“At the Olympic Games, you hope you are not going to have rain, thunder and lightning thrown at you, but I did and I had to deal with it. We live up on the South Downs in Sussex getting blown away.

“We just hope it doesn’t rain too much today because it will be very slippery around those corners on the cross-country course.”

Cook arguably produced one of the day’s most accomplished tests, given what was thrown at her.

The rain held off for Fox-Pitt to complete the British dressage rounds, with Lionheart’s strong cross-country and showjumping sections now to come.

World number one Fox-Pitt said: “He’s 10-years-old and this is his first big championship. I am absolutely thrilled with him.

“He’s hopefully going to come into his own in the next few days and that is why he’s here. “He was never selected on the dressage phase, and he’s produced a personal best score (44.10).”

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